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Freeport Bridge on schedule for completion in November

| Friday, March 29, 2013, 12:56 a.m.
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Seen from Route 356 near the Riverforest Golf Club, construction continues on the Freeport Bridge, spanning Buffalo and Allegheny Townships on Thursday, March 28,2013
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Seen from Freeport Road in Buffalo, construction continues on the Freeport Bridge, spanning Buffalo and Allegheny Townships on Thursday, March 28,2013

The Freeport Bridge project is progressing on schedule ahead of the official start of PennDOT's construction season on Monday.

The $64 million project is about two-thirds completed and is expected to be finished in November.

Carl Ray, PennDOT's Freeport Bridge project manager, said the major work this summer will be constructing the new northbound lanes of Route 356 and working on the bridge piers and pier caps.

“The big thing was the big holes we were drilling in the ground (for the piers). We're, what we call ‘out of the ground' and that's a major accomplishment to finish that on time,” Ray said. “From here on out, everything should fall right into place.”

Traffic patterns on Route 356 remain much the same as they have been since a major switch in November, when vehicles began using the new southbound lanes of Route 356.

However, motorists can expect shifting traffic and flaggers as crews build the new Route 128 lanes and the approach that will lead to the new bridge over Buffalo Creek.

Within the past several weeks, PennDOT closed the ramp from the Laneville bridge onto Route 128, which runs parallel between Buffalo Creek and Second Street in Freeport.

Motorists must travel past Devereaux Chevrolet and turn right onto Second Street near the BP gas station.

Freeport Council President Don Rehner said he's pleased the project is set to be completed on time.

“We'll be glad when all the dirt is done,” he said.

This year, the old northbound lanes of the Freeport Bridge will be demolished along with the bridge approaches from both directions, according to a weekly construction update posted on PennDOT's website dedicated to the project.

The demolition of the Laneville bridge is one of the final phases of the project.

Once the new Buffalo Creek bridge is completed, a permanent traffic light will be installed where it intersects with Route 356.

The temporary traffic light where the Laneville bridge intersects with Route 356 will be removed.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or jweigand@tribweb.com.

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