Starting next week, motorists who drive over the McCall Bridge can expect to encounter some changes.
Sean Brown, safety press officer, with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Engineering District 5, said that from 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. next Tuesday through Thursday, traffic will be restricted to one lane in each direction on the bridge, Route 209 between Route 443 and Route 248.
"The turn lane on the bridge will be restricted for this work," Brown said. "However, the through lanes are being maintained."
Drivers around the area will also be affected.
Rehabilitation of the bridge will continue throughout the spring and summer, and will involve a complex detour route.
While much of the work is expected to be done at night, there will also be times when the bridge will have flaggers, and traffic will back up.
Bridge Street, Canal Street and Route 209 will be milled, and the area repaved in anticipation of the detour. The milling is scheduled to take place around April 15.
Eventually, there will be a membrane overlay on the Bridge Street bridge that takes traffic from Weissport to Route 209 near Dunkin' Donuts, and a light will be added at that intersection.
Temporary traffic patterns in Weissport and surrounding the bridge are expected to last three to four months. During that time, Weissport traffic on Bridge Street will be one way for the entire two lanes.
PennDOT will install temporary traffic lights at the intersection of Bankway and Bridge Street at the Lehighton end of the Weissport/Lehighton bridge to help with traffic flow.
Workers are scheduled to work from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday with some occasional Friday shifts.
During bridge jacking and placement of the latex modified concrete, workers will add night work hours from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
The detour is scheduled to reopen on Sept. 5, 2014.
Completion date for the project is May 19, 2015.
Impacts on businesses
Narda Montrom, manager of Sapore Restaurant at 99 E. Bridge St., Lehighton, said she doesn't believe the bridge repairs will have a negative impact on her business.
"The only thing I think is the backup in Weissport," Montrom said. "I don't think it will hurt businesses around here, because people will be waiting in line, and maybe they'll want to take out food."
Montrom added, "I don't think it will have a major impact. If people like a place enough, they'll find a way to get there."
Reached for comment, Stephen Fowler, manager of Dunkin' Donuts, at 92 Bridge St., Lehighton, declined to discuss how the bridge work could impact his business.
Of course, it isn't just businesses that will be affected by the bridge construction.
Weissport borough residents can expect increased traffic, as well as parking and noise issues.
Resident Diane Moser, who lives in the 400 block of White Street, said the bridge construction is what it is.
"It's going to be rough getting out of Weissport, that's for sure," Moser said. "It's something that should be done."
The project involves rehabilitation of the structure, which carries Route 209 traffic across the Lehigh River, Lehigh Canal, Norfolk Southern Railroad and other local roads.
The structural rehabilitation includes deck repairs, new latex modified concrete overlay on the existing deck, new integral approach slabs at each end of the bridge, replacement of all 17 deck joints, placing new protective fencing along both barriers, replacing existing drainage scuppers and new downspout systems.
The superstructure repairs include cleaning and repainting the entire superstructure, stiffening gusset plates in the truss spans, adding floor beam cover plates and girderstiffeners to increase capacity.
Substructure repairs include replacing/rehabilitating bearings, repairing deteriorated concrete on piers and abutments, and reconstructing pier 4, and placing additional protection at piers 2 and 3.
J.D. Eckman Inc.of Atglen is the contractor for the $11.8 million project.
The McCall Bridge, built in 1938, was last rehabilitated in 1981.