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Taylor Bridge Reopens to Drivers

It has taken more than a decade but a bridge replacement project in Lackawanna County is finally complete.
It has taken more than a decade but a bridge replacement project in Lackawanna County is now complete.

The heavily-travelled bridge along Main Street in Taylor reopened just after 10:00 AM Thursday morning.

Thousands of drivers use the bridge everyday.

It was originally closed down in October 2011 but getting a new bridge had been in the planning stages since 1998.

After a lot of planning and obstacles, the ribbon cutting was a happy occassion for politicians, past and present.

"It's a good Christmas present that we can go over it and I'd like to say not just Taylor but it's for the whole down-valley, Old Forge, as well," Taylor borough manager Dan Zeleniak said.

The old bridge was built in 1934.

It needed to be replaced because chunks of concrete started to fall on the rail line below. The bridge was demolished in May 2012.

Tony DePaolo is the grandson of one of the men who built the original bridge. He says he understands the need for change.

"You've gotta look to the future," Tony DePaolo said. "You've gotta become competitive. We're going against the whole world. Things have to change."

The new bridge will be a big boost for emergency services, including firefighters and police.

"When the bridge was crumbling our firetrucks were not allowed to go this way," Taylor firefighter and councilman John Tigue said. "We had to take other routes."

During construction, an access road was built nearby for drivers to use. Because the bridge is now open, the access road has been closed.

PennDOT plans to work with officials in Taylor borough to figure out what can be done with the road.

"It looks like, in all probability, we won't be able to keep the road going all the way through but we're going to leave it up for now and see where we can go from there," PennDOT spokesman James May said.

The new bridge is a county-owned bridge on a state road.

The total cost of the project was roughly $4.6 million.
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