JIM THORPE, CARBON COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Nearly 40 miles of the turnpike will be shut down starting Friday night at 9:00 p.m. all the way through Sunday as construction crews will demolish and replace a bridge.

This bridge replacement would normally take 18 months, but they’re doing it within 55 hours.

The detour distance is 70 miles long and communities like Jim Thorpe are concerned about traffic congestion ahead of its Fall Foliage Festival this weekend.

The colors yellow, red, and green fill the mountains of Jim Thorpe Friday.

“They’re so beautiful. It’s unbelievable how beautiful they are,” said David Hascin, a teller at the Italian Pastry Vendor.

Visitors gather in the square gearing up for the city’s fall foliage festival this weekend.

Vendors say although the festival runs every weekend in October this one is expected to be its busiest due to the vibrant leaves’ colors.

“All the shops uptown that is offering a lot of stuff, it’s just a great time to be here. We have a lot of vendors coming into town for the weekend so it looks like it’s going to be a perfect storm,” explained Gary Wagner, owner of the french fries stands.

However, a nearly 40 miles long Turnpike closure nearby is causing some concern for traffic congestion.

Starting at 9:00 p.m. Friday part of the Turnpike will shut down in carbon to Lehigh County as construction crews demolish and replace a bridge.

The detour distance for drivers totals 70 miles.

A local vendor told Eyewitness News he worries the traffic may keep visitors away.

“With the turnpike closing down, we honestly don’t know what to expect. We’re hoping the crowds still come out, but I don’t know,” stated Eric Cinciole, owner of The Doggie Wagon Hot Dog Cart.

Bridge construction is set to be complete with the turnpike reopened by 4:00 a.m. Monday.

The Jim Thorpe tourism agency says they’re informing visitors to make the drive-in as soon as possible to beat any traffic.

“The reality is coming to Jim Thorpe during fall foliage requires a bit of patience anyways, so this particular weekend, it’s going to need just a little bit more patience and a little bit more planning,” explained Michael Rivkin, president of the Jim Thorpe Tourism Agency.

The turnpike stretch will be closed starting tonight at 9:00 p.m. and will be reopened Monday at 4:00 a.m.

For more information, visit the PA Turnpike website.