Bridge features mimic span’s historic look
The new Harrison Avenue Bridge should open for cars, trucks and history buffs next month.
Crews from Minichi Inc. of Dupont have been on the $30.8 million job for three years and have begun installing the historic features meant to at least mimic what the existing bridge connecting Scranton’s Hill Section and South Scranton looked like when it opened in September 1922.
The installation of 16-foot-high obelisks and ornate lighting from that era plus ornamental fencing should be mostly done when the
bridge opens. Deterioration forced removal of the old obelisks decades ago.
“I think when we’re all done it’s going to be very appealing as the gateway to the city,” said Tom Bailey, Minichi’s project manager.
Underneath, the new bridge will differ greatly. The existing bridge consists of concrete and steel girders fashioned into distinct curved supporting arches. The new one’s underside is mostly concrete with straight up and down piers.
The state Department of Transportation still hasn’t set a specific November date for opening the bridge, and the project has another construction season to go before it’s all done.
“There’s quite a lot to do,” Bailey said. “It’s quite involved.” Still left to do:
■ Demolish the existing bridge. That will happen mostly in the spring through an implosion. Minichi can’t finish the sidewalk on the eastern side because the old bridge is in the way. The other sidewalk will open. The company won’t install light poles on the eastern side either so the demolition doesn’t damage them.
When the new bridge opens, at first it will have two narrower lanes to leave room for the work on the eastern side.
“You can’t do everything until you start tearing this bridge down,” PennDOT spokesman James May said.
Rebuilding the inbound lanes of the Central Scranton Expressway. As part of the project, Minichi ripped out the lanes plus about 20 feet of earth beneath them. That was necessary to clear space for the access road needed to get a massive drill in place to open the hole where the bridge’s southern piers sink 55 feet deep into the earth.
Connecting the southern end of the bridge to Front Street, a street off the existing bridge. That will entail lengthening Front Street to reach the new bridge.
Replacing Duffy Park with a new version of it.
“Where the road (on Harrison Avenue) is now is where the park will be,” May said. Contact the writer: email@example.com; 570-348-9147; @BorysBlogTT on Twitter