PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia-area drivers who use the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike to get to the Poconos are facing a substantial detour this weekend as crews replace a bridge spanning the toll road.
Crews will begin removing the Route 309 bridge that goes over the Pennsylvania Turnpike just north of the Lehigh Valley interchange Friday night.
They’ll be moving large cranes in to take the old bridge out and then lift the replacement bridge, which has been put together and is laying in pieces nearby, into position.
The Route 309 bridge itself will be closed between Chapman’s Road and Snowdrift Road during the job.
“It’s called Accelerated Bridge Construction or ABC. It’s an engineering process that eliminates the need for that area to be closed for months or years of single-lane traffic,” said the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s Kathleen Walter.
Walter says drivers who use the Northeast Extension will have to follow a lengthy detour that runs about 70 miles.
“They would exit at Lehigh Valley,” she explained. “And there are signs there to take 22 East and then there’s directional signs along the roadway that would instruct them how to get around by not being able to take that part of the turnpike.”
She says drivers coming southbound from the Poconos would have to get off at the Pocono Interchange and follow the detour.
Walter says if all goes according to plan, the new Route 309 bridge over the turnpike will be fully installed by Monday at 4 a.m. and the Northeast Extension detour will be lifted.
“What we are telling people that if at all possible they should avoid the area. But if they have to travel to an event or something that has been pre-planned already just to really give themselves a lot of extra time and just to follow the detours that we have posted.”