Lehigh Valley

Bridge replacement closes 40 miles of Pennsylvania Turnpike

A bridge replacement project will shut down 40 miles of the Pennsylvania Turnpike's northeast extension from Friday night into early Monday morning.

"The portion of the turnpike that will be closed is the Lehigh Valley interchange through the Mahoning Valley interchange," said Kathleen Walter of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

Walter warned drivers to plan ahead this weekend.

"If they can, avoid the area, but if they must travel through this region, just give themselves ample time. We're telling everyone the detour is at least an hour long," she said.

While the stretch of highway is closed, crews will replace a 60-year-old bridge in South Whitehall Township, Lehigh County.

"There's a bridge that carries Crackersport Road along the northeast extension, and they are demo-ing and reconstructing this bridge in the span of 55 hours over this weekend," said Walter. 

The project is called accelerated bridge construction. New technology allows crews to finish the bridge in one shot. 

"This really helps alleviate to have multiple road closures throughout the year," said Walter. 

Detour signs line the Pennsylvania Turnpike, directing drivers to use Route 22, Route 33, and Interstate 80 over the next few days. Highway officials are asking for cooperation and patience to make the closure a smooth ride. 

The closure takes effect at 9 p.m. Friday, and the turnpike will reopen around 4 a.m. Monday.

The bridge work was initially planned for September but was postponed because of a mechanical problem.

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