Emergency Bridge Repairs Impacts Route 524

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If you’re planning to go fishing or camping at Lackawanna State Park this month, your trip to get there may involve a new detour.

PennDOT had to close part of Route 524 in Scott Township on Monday.

That is the main way to get the popular park from Interstate 81.

The part of Route 524 that is closed is right off Exit 199 in Scott Township.

The problem isn’t with the road itself but with a bridge for Interstate 81 South that is right above the road.

Some of the bridge’s support piers have deteriorated and emergency repairs are needed.

Contractors wasted no time Monday afternoon getting to work, trying to restore the piers that hold up the bridge along Interstate 81-South.

Because of the work, a section of Route 524 is currently off limits in both directions.

“What they will do is actually jack the bridge up, just a little bit, just enough to take the pressure off the piers,” PennDOT spokesman James May said. “They’ll then put some additional shoring and do some work on the piers just to make sure they’re secure for the traffic that’s going over on top of 81.”

While drivers on Interstate 81 South won’t be impacted, Route 524 will be closed most likely through the end of the month.

Route 524 is the main road many people use to get to Lackawanna State Park.

Officials are hoping to get it reopen before the Fourth of July.

“I know they get very busy, very filled up because it’s a nice place to go and hang out,” Dorothy Wells-Peier of Benton Township said.

Because of the closure, anybody getting off Exit 199 on Interstate 81-North can no longer immediately turn left off the exit.

A detour is set-up and puts drivers immediately back on Interstate 81-North.

The detour takes drivers a few miles north to Exit 201 (East Benton Exit) where they can turn around and head back down Interstate 81 South.

People say the detour takes about ten minutes.

Drivers say they understand the closure given the condition of other bridges in northeastern Pennsylvania.

“They’ve got a lot of bridges that they’ve got to get taken care of structurally. It’s a safety issue. It’s a good thing to get a handle on. We’ve got to put up with it,” Wells-Peier said.

Once all of the emergency work is finished in about three weeks, PennDOT says it is planning more repairs for the Interstate 81 South bridge itself.

That project won’t go out to bid until August so the work likely won’t begin until the fall or next spring.

That work is likely to lead to delays on Interstate 81-South in that area.

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