WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Many roads and bridges in our area are in need of significant and costly repairs. Tuesday night, Luzerne County Council made decisions on how to secure the money necessary to fix them up but not everyone agreed with the decision.
On the list is the Nanticoke/West Nanticoke Bridge. Officials previously determined its total replacement would cost between $40-$50MIL.
Built, in 1919 this historic bridge connects Nanticoke to West Nanticoke over the Susquehanna River.
Its weight limit was reduced to 15 tons in 2020 after issues came to light during an inspection, prompting concerns about a possible closure like others in the area.
“Me personally, I don’t live in the area. But, I’ve heard a lot from a lot of residents and from a lot of people who use the bridge that, it’s needed. Just like you would say water street’s not needed, you got a bridge right there, but, we found out, it’s needed,” said Larry Plesh, Luzerne County Engineer.
At Tuesday night’s Luzerne County Council meeting, members discussed approving an agreement with the county redevelopment authority to move forward with a proposed reconstruction project of the bridge.
“It seems like this is focused solely on the bridge, and there’s so many residents out there who utilize roads all across the county that I think are being shafted by this. This is a perfect opportunity to help a mass amount of residents in the county instead of a bridge that sits a half-mile up the road from another bridge,” said Gregory Wolovich, Luzerne County Council Member.
After a lot of debate, county council voted in favor of taking the next steps. The project involves a $55MIL infrastructure loan guarantee to be used to address county-owned roads and bridges like this one.
“Nanticoke provides police, fire, and ambulance services to Plymouth Township, my hometown, where I was born and raised, where my father and many of my family members still live. That bridge is essential to public safety,” said Senator John Yudichak (I-14th District).
The Redevelopment Authority is set to meet Wednesday to vote on the agreement and loan application. From there, the Commonwealth Financing Authority will make the ultimate decision if the project is approved before ground is broken on the bridge.