One More Winter With Two-lane Expressway
Drivers who travel the Central Scranton Expressway should expect the narrowed, two-lane version until at least late spring. The contractor that removed about 250 feet of the two inbound expressway lanes to build the new Harrison Avenue Bridge has a target of June 1 to finish rebuilding the lanes, said Patrick McCabe, the state Department of Transportation’s bridge project manager. “I guess I would say thank you to the public for enduring one more winter with it down to two lanes,” McCabe said. “I’m sure it’s an inconvenience for everyone, including our snowplow drivers, but we have endured ... winters with it like that.” The expressway restoration work by Minichi Inc. of Dupont, which built the bridge, includes a plan to resurface the expressway from Interstate 81 to its Spruce Street endpoint and install a concrete divider between inbound and outbound lanes, McCabe said. The expressway, normally two lanes inbound and two outbound, narrowed to a single lane each way in spring 2015, not long after the Harrison Avenue Bridge project began, PennDOT spokesman Michael Taluto said. Minichi had to rip out part of the two inbound lanes to clear a path for heavy equipment to build the bridge. Now, Minichi has to restore what it removed, though without the original materials. McCabe said the removed lanes sat — and much of the expressway still sits — on a pile of hardened slag, a once-molten leftover from production in the old Scranton Iron Furnaces. The restored section will consist of a precast concrete retaining wall that holds up thousands of 2-inch stones and the rebuilt concrete and asphalt of the expressway. The wall should resemble the one that holds up the University of Scranton’s soccer field off Laurel Line Drive, McCabe said. “There’s about 30 feet of air underneath them (the former lanes), so we need to get that retaining wall back in place,” he said. As part of the expressway paving project, McCabe said he insisted on a 42-inch-high concrete divider to separate the inbound and outbound lanes and replace the short curb that separates them now. The McDade Expressway has a divider like that. “Back in the day, traffic from Carbondale and the Upvalley would come into town primarily on the old Route 6, past the Eynon Drug Store, past the Viewmont Mall, North Scranton Expressway (McDade Expressway) and into town,” he said. “With the advent of Casey Highway years ago, now the preferred route seems to be the Casey Highway to I-81, the Central Scranton Expressway and in. So, the old mountable curb that was on the Central Scranton Expressway, I really didn’t have a lot of comfort with that. You’re always concerned with crossover-type accidents.” McCabe said the restoration could face a further delay if the state Fish Commission does not give PennDOT permission to work between Oct. 1 and Jan. 1, a restriction meant to protect fish in Roaring Brook. “I can’t rule it out that we still couldn’t do it (hit the June 1 target date) anyway, but on the other hand, I don’t know,” he said. Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9147; @BorysBlogTT on Twitter MONDAY UPDATE brings Times-Tribune readers up to date on past or pending stories of interest. To offer a suggestion for a Monday Update, please email email@example.com with “Monday Update” in the subject line.