Lehigh Valley

Pa. Turnpike reopens after weekend bridge replacement project

SOUTH WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. - Traffic is back to normal along the Pennsylvania Turnpike and part of Route 309 in South Whitehall Township.

It's all thanks to just one weekend and some dedicated crew members with the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

"Everything went very smooth for the team. They were happy with everything that happened over the weekend, as far as the work that was done prior to putting the super steel structure in place and then all of the elements after the bridge was in place went smoothly, too," said Kathleen Walter of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

The portion of the Northeast Extension between the Lehigh Valley and Mahoning Valley interchanges, as well as Route 309 in the area, closed at 9 p.m. Friday.

They stayed closed all weekend, but reopened 30 minutes ahead of the scheduled 4 a.m. Monday, thanks to an engineering technique called accelerated bridge construction (ABC).

It allows workers to replace a bridge in one weekend rather than a year or more of construction.

"This actually alleviates long-term, single-lane closures having to close the road for multiple periods of time throughout the course of a year. This new engineering procedure, accelerated bridge construction, really does help to alleviate a headache for drivers that use this part of the region when we replace a bridge. Absolutely," Walter said.

It's the third successful bridge replacement project for the Pa. Turnpike using the ABC technique. It's the second on the Northeast Extension.

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