Newly named John K. Tener Memorial Bridge gets glowing reviews
Irene Lesko of Jacobs Creek grew up under the Charleroi-Monessen Bridge.
As a youth, she would climb the steps at the end of the span. She remembered when the police station was located under the bridge. Her godfather had a shoe-shining business in the neighborhood beneath the span as well.
But after the bridge closed in 2009 – and reopening of the span that was under reconstruction was delayed – the 86-year-old Lesko was unsure if she would live to see the day when the bridge reopened.
Lesko said she told her son she had considered wearing a sign Saturday proclaiming, “Born in Lock Four Dec. 25, 1926.”
But the day that Lesko – and so many Mid-Mon Valley residents – thought might never come did so Saturday.
Amidst much celebration and an after-ceremony party in the North Charleroi Professional Plaza, the rebuilt bridge linking North Charleroi and Monessen was reopened to traffic.
“It's beautiful,” Lesko said. “I never thought that they would make it this beautiful.”
Lesko was among hundreds of area residents who attended ceremonies Saturday.
The former Charleroi-Monessen Bridge closed on Feb. 19, 2009, after an inspection revealed deterioration in the first 200-foot span closest to Monessen.
Built in 1907, the bridge was rehabilitated shortly after World War II and again in 1986.
During the closure, the span was renamed by the state the John K. Tener Memorial Bridge in honor of the former governor. Tener was president of the Merchantile Bridge Co. when the span was built at the turn of the last century.
Thelma Palmer, 95, was invited by North Charleroi officials to the ceremony because she is one of the oldest living residents of the borough.
“We surely did miss it for those four years,” Palmer said.
Irene Hlavacik, a resident of North Charleroi since 1945, enjoyed lunch at the professional plaza after the event. In the background a country band warmed up and the newlyweds, Robecca and Mike Castner mingled with the crowd, many enjoying hot dogs and hamburgers cooked on a grill by Lock Four firefighters.
“I think it's wonderful,” Hlavacik said of the bridge.
“We waited so long for it. They did a wonderful job.”
Charleroi resident Ed Hank walked across the bridge for a view of the events held in the center of the span before it was opened to traffic.
“I came down for one reason – to see all of my friends from Lock Four,” Hank said. “I was born and raised there.”
Likewise, Rick and Dorothea “Pookie” Hyk of North Belle Vernon, grew up in North Charleroi.
“I can't wait to use the bridge,” Rick Hyk said.
“It's been too long.”
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Donora native at forefront of scientific research
- Belle Vernon students advance to state history competition
- Tourism grant funds give boost to Brownsville
- Ringgold Rams Club offers helping hand to district programs
- Venetia man charged after allegedly pointing pistol at slow driver in the fast lane
- North Belle Vernon man accused of ‘extraordinary, physical abuse’ of infant
- ‘French Kiss,’ filmed in Paris, teams talents of Sander-Moses
- Valley man charged in drug case
- North Belle Vernon ‘Civic Center’ drew dedication applause
- Monessen out to sell buildings
- Club to toast N. Charleroi ‘stars’ at annual banquet