Mehoopany Township, Wyoming County -- Work of all sorts on Monday marked day one of a bridge construction project in Mehoopany Township. Workers were busy relocating sewer lines and cutting down trees -- all in preparation to replace the old Sugar Hollow Road Bridge over Mehoopany Creek. "This is pretty crazy. I know they've been meaning to shut the bridge down for a while so you know they finally got around to it," said Cam Kingsley who found getting in and out of his home on DonEllen Drive isn't easy in the midst of the project. But he says even in the past, the way the old road and bridge were constructed made driving for him dicey. "You've got to really be careful on it. There's been more than once where I've had a close call with other cars whipping around the other way."
The bridge construction project has two major objectives -- replace the roughly seven decades old existing bridge and provide a route that's easier for drivers to maneuver. "There's a big hairpin turn here and a grade change that goes down and then across and then back up again to Route 87. We're removing all of that and we're making more of an easy, gradual slope right down 87," said Susquehanna Valley Construction engineer Mark Bacewicz. The existing route is a popular with truck traffic. Many times big rigs would come along and pass by what was once a retaining wall along Sugar Hollow Road and knock loose some rocks from the wall.
With so much truck traffic in the area especially given the close proximity to the Procter and Gamble plant, PennDOT didn't want a detour in effect in winter. Instead, the 6.6 mile detour from Route 87 to John Sheehan Road will only last a month or two while crews complete stream excavation and construction of a retaining wall. Workers expect to set bridge beams over winter but won't need to do another detour again until spring. "We would shut it down again so we could tie in the road work into the new bridge," said Mr. Bacewicz. PennDOT expects work on the $3.3 million dollar bridge project to be completed next August.