Bridge Work Timeline Infuriates W-B Residents
WILKES-BARRE — Work to rebuild the long-closed North Washington Street Bridge is imminent, but much to the dismay of neighborhood residents and former bridge travelers, the project likely will take more than four years to complete.
With federal funding for the approximately $2 million project now in place, city officials hosted an informational meeting for the public Wednesday evening at the Hollenback Golf Course clubhouse.
Dominic Yannuzzi, a project manager with the Alfred Benesch engineering company, laid out the plans and timeline.
The project calls for “total replacement, from the abutments all the way up to the bridge deck,” Yannuzzi said.
Officials will have to work with utility companies to relocate lines, with a railroad company regarding the tracks that will run under the bridge, and with nearby landowners and residents to gather information. They must study the geology of the land under the bridge and determine whether concrete or steel will make the most economical structure, Yannuzzi said.
The three stages of the project — preliminary design, final design and construction — each are expected to take about 18 months, in a worst-case scenario, Yannuzzi said.
If the timeline is accurate, the bridge will be closed more than 10 years before a new one will be ready to once again accommodate traffic. The bridge was closed in 2012 when it was determined to be unsafe.
One audience member said the bridge is “one of the major arteries — north and south — in a city of 45,000 people,” and it should have been given a higher priority than other bridge projects.
Yannuzzi said he expects to begin the design process in January, assuming the state Department of Transportation gives a notice to proceed, as is expected.
There will be additional public meetings during the preliminary and final design stages to get input and answer questions, Yannuzzi said.
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