Scranton & PennDOT could join forces to replace troubled bridges

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – After years of waiting, plans to replace several troubled bridges in Scranton could soon be moving forward.

On Thursday night, city council is expected to introduce legislation to work with PennDOT on the projects.

One of the bridges on the possible replacement list is the West Lackawanna Avenue bridge.

It connects West Scranton with the busy downtown district and is used by thousands of drivers everyday.

Geyshelle Brown works two jobs and finds herself crossing the West Lackawanna Avenue bridge almost everyday on foot.

She’d be the first to tell you it has seen better days.

“The sidewalks, you can’t step on them, you feel like you’re going to fall off!” Brown said.

Brown is thrilled to hear that Scranton and PennDOT may soon join forces to design and construct a new bridge.

“It’s going to be a major project and it’s going to take quite a while but it’s one that is absolutely necessary,” Mayor Bill Courtright said.

Mike Moletsky owns a car dealership right next to the current bridge.

For safety’s sake, he knows the project is a good idea because he’s seen the chunks of concrete that have fallen off over time but he’s also concerned about how the work will be done and how long it will take.

“I’d like to see them do one side and then do the other side, if it’s feasible,” Moletsky said.

Besides the West Lackawanna Avenue bridge, Scranton and PennDOT may also team-up to replace two other bridges, one bridge on North Main Avenue by the Pepsi Plant and another on Elm Street near the Lackawanna Heritage Trail.

“They raised the gas tax recently, a lot, so I do hope they fix a lot of bridges,” Paul Ezbiansky of Old Forge said.

According to the legislation expected to be introduced at city council on Thursday, PennDOT would pay for 95-percent of the project and Scranton would be responsible for five-percent.

For Geyshelle Brown, anything to fix the West Lackawanna Avenue bridge is welcome.

“It’s direct to every areas you need to go, the mall, the bus station, UHaul, everything,” Brown said.

While the legislation will be introduced Thursday, actual construction could still be several years away.

PennDOT officials say it would take at least three years to design the new bridges and hire contractors.

According to city documents, the total cost to replace all three of the bridges is expected to be more than $17 million.

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