KINGSTON — It could be a long couple of weeks for commuters using Pierce Street and the Veterans Memorial Bridge.
According to James May and Mike Taluto at PennDOT’s District 4 Dunmore office, two major projects could cause traffic delays for extended times:
• Milling and base work on Pierce Street from Dawes Avenue to Wyoming Avenue will be done from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily starting Tuesday. Flaggers will be used to control and direct traffic around the work zone and traffic delays may be experienced. Paving will begin on May 20.
• The ongoing repairs to the Veterans Memorial Bridge will see traffic reduced to one lane for both directions on Tuesday, Taluto said. Traffic will be allowed both ways at alternating times with assistance of the flaggers.
Phase I of the bridge project should be completed by late June or early July, May said. Phase I is the eastbound part of the bridge. May and Taluto said the deck has been removed and the steel and the bridge dams have been set.
“The concrete for the deck on two of the spans will be placed starting Tuesday,” May said. “The bridge will be down to one lane on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.”
PennDOT says work on the Veterans Memorial Bridge that connects Kingston and Wilkes-Barre will continue for another year and motorists can expect these type of delays from time to time; advisories will be issued when major delays are expected.
Phase II of the bridge project in the westbound lanes will start in July, May said.
The project is a partial design/build effort that includes deck replacement of the four-lane span that is also known as the Pierce Street Bridge. The project also will include sidewalks to allow pedestrians to cross the river.
The $5.7 million project was planned before the 2011 flood, said Taluto, when the Susquehanna River rose to unprecedented levels and resulted in flooding in areas not protected by the Wyoming Valley levee system.
The bridge’s deck and bridge dams needed to be removed and replaced prior to the 2011 flooding, he said.
Traffic in and out of the city has been slowed since the former Hotel Sterling on River Street was condemned after it sustained heavy damage from the 2011 flooding. Market Street traffic is restricted to one way into the city from the Market Street Bridge and will remain that way until the hotel is demolished.
The Pierce Street resurfacing project will cost about $900,000 and will take months to complete. PennDOT and Wilkes-Barre will embark on a traffic-slowing project on River Street once the bridge repairs are completed.
May said more motorists have been using the Veterans Memorial Bridge to avoid the Sterling detour and that future lane closures will probably slow traffic even more.
The contractor for the bridge project is Fahs Construction.