Lehigh Valley

Coplay-Northampton bridge project starts Wednesday

COPLAY, Pa. - The days are numbered for a popular bridge in Lehigh County.

Come Wednesday, the Coplay-Northampton Bridge will be shut down, marking the beginning of a three-year replacement project.

"Over the years it's been patched," said Rick Molchany, director of Lehigh County Services.

Molchany said the 1930 bridge is no longer able to support the weight it was intended to and needs to be replaced.

The $35 million project includes replacing the bridge and putting in a left turning lane onto Main Street on the Northampton side of the bridge.

Molchany said the timeframe for the project is mostly dictated by finances.

"It comes down to being able to flow money into the project," he said.

Traffic has some dreading the rebuild.

"Big headache. About 11,000 cars on average and 100 pedestrians walk the bridge. So, yes this will impact the local community," Molchany said.

To accommodate those who walk the bridge, a free shuttle will run every half hour on either side.

Drivers will also have to find another way; the next crossover is about two and a half miles away.

"We are officially naming Hokendauqua-Northampton Bridge as the detour," Molchany said.

"As we have obstacles or backups we'll try and deal with those as best we can," said Tony Pritash, Northampton Borough Councilman.

While some are worried about too much traffic, others are worried about not enough of it.

"Businesses are concerned a little bit," Pritash said.

Northampton's Mario's Pizza sits just across the street from the bridge.

"It's going to affect everyone a little bit across the board," said Frank Grigoli, owner of Mario's Pizza.

The closure starts Wednesday.

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