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Sliding snag postpones Pennsylvania Turnpike bridge replacement and closure on Northeastern Extension

Jeff Himler
| Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, 10:15 p.m.
Motorists approaching Pennsylvania Turnpike toll booths now either pay cash or let monitors read the E-ZPass transponders in their vehicles. This is the southbound toll booth on the Mon/Fayette Expressway or Turnpike 43 at its Route 51 interchange in Jefferson Hills.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Motorists approaching Pennsylvania Turnpike toll booths now either pay cash or let monitors read the E-ZPass transponders in their vehicles. This is the southbound toll booth on the Mon/Fayette Expressway or Turnpike 43 at its Route 51 interchange in Jefferson Hills.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has postponed planned replacement of a bridge in Lehigh County and closure of a section of the turnpike's Northeastern Extension (Interstate 476) until at least mid-October.

The weekend closure in South Whitehall Township was slated to begin at 9 p.m. Friday to allow crews to demolish the bridge over Crackersport Road and slide into place a new version that has been constructed alongside it. Brad Heigel, the turnpike's chief engineer, said officials discovered during a test run that “a slight shift had occurred in the slide mechanism. ... The shift would make it extremely difficult for crews to properly slide the new bridge segments into their correct position within the allotted 55-hour (closure).”

Once the bridge replacement begins, through traffic headed north will exit at the Lehigh Valley interchange (Exit 56) and motorists headed south will exit at the Pocono interchange (Exit 95). Local southbound traffic will be able to continue to the Route 903 interchange (Exit 87) — for E-ZPass users only — or to the Mahoning Valley interchange (Exit 74).

The official detour during the closure will use portions of Routes 22 and 30 and Interstate 80.

A similar bridge replacement closed a segment of the turnpike in Beaver County last weekend.

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