Local engineer gives an idea on the condition of the Pittston Firefighter’s Memorial Bridge

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PITTSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — We are getting a closer look at the problem that closed a well-traveled bridge. A Luzerne County engineer has spoken with Eyewitness News on what could be the problem.

In the coming weeks, we should get an idea of when and if the bridge will reopen. In the meantime, county and state hired officials will need to get an idea of the overall condition of the bridge.

Luzerne County Engineer Lawrence Plesh tells Eyewitness News exactly why the Firefighter’s Memorial Bridge failed inspection.

“The eyebar was out of shape. A little more than the last inspection and they decided as a safety precaution, PennDOT and ourselves and the consultant decided it was best to close the bridge,” explained Plesh.

Plesh is talking about the eyebars that hold tension throughout the bridge and in this particular location, at least one is bent out of shape on the bridge.

“The eyebars are the tension members that connect sections of the bridge together. Through pin connections and stuff. It’s truss set up,” said Plesh.

The eyebars allow the bridge to flex. Plesh tells Eyewitness News, the trusses on each side are what hold up the bridge.

“If one of the trusses goes the bridge can’t hold any more weight,” explains Plesh.

Before the bridge closure, PennDOT launched a study to see if two bridges within a few hundred feet of each other are viable.

“They’re trying to determine the best option. Is it to keep them, rehab them, or replace them or a whole different configuration,” stated Plesh.

Plesh says PennDOT plans to shift its focus to the Memorial Bridge instead of the former Fort Jenkins Bridge.

“It should make their study a lot easier if they know that bridge is going to be more of the rehab than what they have to replace. So they will have their answer a lot sooner,” said Plesh.

Now, PennDOT’s hired firm plans to study this bridge starting Monday, August 23rd and wrapping it up on September 3rd.

Until then the bridge will be closed indefinitely. The county engineer advises pedestrians the bridge is also closed to them and will be needing to find an alternate route.

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