New Harrison avenue bridge opens in Scranton

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – It’s a project that has taken several years to complete but the new Harrison Avenue bridge in Scranton is finally open to drivers.

While many people are happy about the progress that has been made for one family involved in the construction, Friday’s opening was bittersweet.

The Minichi Contracting Group was hired to build the new bridge.

In January, the owner of the company who took great pride in the project died unexpectedly.

His wife and children who helped keep the company going were in Scranton Friday to celebrate the bridge’s opening.

With a rifle salute and a ribbon cutting, the New Harrison Avenue bridge officially opened to traffic Friday morning around 9:30 AM.

It’s a project several years in the making.

“The bridge looks great. I think they really captured the style and the essence of the old bridge,” Scott Carpenter of Scranton said.

Mayor Bill Courtright and Paula Minichello and her children were the first to cross the new bridge.

For Paula Minichello, this was an emotional ride.

Her husband Marc, the owner of the contracting company hired to build the bridge, passed away eleven months ago.

Paula Minichello kept her husband’s company going. She was determined to see his vision through.

“He always wanted to do things to help the towns and the communities to make them better so it’s very emotional!” Paula Minichello said.

For her children, the bridge opening means mission accomplished.

“This bridge is making everyone realize what kind of person my dad was!” Antonia Minichello said.

“To have so many people travel across this bridge everyday it’s truly an honor to be a part of that!” Marc Anthony Minichello said.

The Harrison Avenue bridge is a gateway into Scranton.

It connects the city’s south side and Hill neighborhoods.

Spanning the Central Scranton Expressway and Roaring Brook below, construction of the new bridge was not easy.

“It was interesting watching it, how they were putting it across, especially with some of the problems they had,” Joseph Joester of South Scranton said.

While the bridge is now open to drivers, the project is not complete.

Contractors say it make take up to a year to finish all of the fencing and landscaping, demolish the old bridge which was used for 95 years and fix the Central Scranton Expressway below.

The cost of the new bridge will be much more than originally expected.

The current price tag is more than $30 million. Original estimates had the cost around $14 million.

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