Stites Tunnel Bridge project completion date bumped to 2020

Stites Tunnel Bridge project completion date bumped to 2020

POCONO TOWNSHIP — Unforeseen water conditions have pushed the Stites Tunnel Bridge replacement project completion date to spring 2020, according to PennDOT officials.

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Engineering District 5 stated that the replacement of the bridge over Paradise Creek in Pocono Township was originally slated to wrap up by December, but complications have pushed that date to May 2020.

“Excessive water infiltration inside the tunnel is causing this project to take longer than anticipated. Colder weather will also limit the amount of work performed over the next several months, so we have extended the work into next year,” Assistant Construction Engineer Darren L. LePage said. “We appreciate everyone’s patience as we complete this challenging bridge project.”

The project started in January 2019, with intended improvements including the replacement of the Route 191 Bridge over the creek and bridge roadway approach structures, the installation of a new guide rails and line paint, and concrete repairs to the roadway tunnel under the Delaware Lackawanna Railroad.

H&K Group of Skippack, Pennsylvania is the general contractor for the $8,087,885 project.

According to PennDOT’s release, the Route 191 Bridge is a steel girder bridge that was constructed in 1911, and reconstructed in 1941. Measuring 533 feet long and 35 feet wide, the structure has a 9-ton weight restriction, and a 17-ton restriction for combination vehicles.

The new bridge will be a concrete box culvert measuring 345 feet long and 33 feet wide, with no weight restrictions.

On average, this section of Route 191 sees a daily traffic volume of 5,147 vehicles.

Pocono Township residents expressed concern over the project shortly after the start due to the heavy amount of traffic on roads never intended to handle that many vehicles. Many residents claimed that the detour routes were already in disrepair before the bridge project began, and with increased traffic, the route has only become worse.

In particular, a one lane underpass on Cherry Lane Road was noted to be plagued with potholes and bumps.

“The road underneath that underpass has always been, probably for the last year, a mess,” Pocono Township resident Judi Coover said in a February 2019 interview. “You have to almost stop so that you won’t hit your rim on the hole. I thought they were going to fix it a while ago and they didn’t they just put up some cones.”

PennDOT safety press officer Sean A. Brown said that while the department did receive several complaints about the state of the detour roads earlier on in the project, as of late, he has not heard any qualms about the routes.

“Early on, with a lot of detours, there are things that need to be adjusted and fixed,” Brown said. “We get our maintenance out there to do some work on those detour routes on the state roads to be able to make the driving surfaces better.”

[Original Article]

 

See Also:
Bridge Tunnel Construction Extended into Next Year

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