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Restaurant on the River closes Pittston bridge for an evening of fine dining

As the aging Water Street Firefighters' Memorial Bridge nears the end of its lifespan for vehicle traffic, city officials are looking at new uses for the structure.

PITTSTON, Pa. — There was an unusual scene on the Water Street Firefighters' Memorial Bridge: servers carrying appetizers and folks drinking wine.

The bridge was shut down for Restaurant on the River. 

There was live music, dancing, cocktails, and food from Rikasa's in Pittston and Grico's in Exeter.

"I can't believe the way they pulled this off," John Terrana of Shavertown said. "I was trying to imagine how are you going to have a dinner party on the bridge between Pittston and West Pittston and it all came together."

It was an experiment of sorts. 

The bridge is owned by the county, so the city had to ask permission to close it for this event.

County officials said the bridge is nearing the end of its lifespan for vehicle traffic.

Mayor Michael Lombardo is looking at new potential uses for the bridge, including making it a pedestrian bridge.

"I think this bridge is a great asset. We need to try different things and that's what this is. As far as this event, I'm hoping this is the first of many," Mayor Lombardo said.

Money for the event benefited both restaurants and the Downtown Pittston Partnership, which supports art projects in the community.

The city chose Rikasa's and Grico's to host the meal.

More than 250 tickets went on sale for Restaurant on the River; they sold out in just three days.

"I just thought this is a wonderful idea. It's something new, nobody has ever done this before, and I think it's going to be a great night," Mike Butera of Exeter said.

While this bridge was closed, traffic was re-routed to the nearby Dale Kridlo Memorial Bridge, which is just a few blocks away and also connects Pittston and West Pittston.

Drivers said traffic was not any different than usual.

"I come in and out of here all the time. It doesn't bother me. There is another bridge right down the street, so that's why I said there's no issues for me," Amber Williams of Laflin said.

Mayor Lombardo said there are no definite plans to shut down the bridge again for an event like this. However, he's hoping to try again next summer.

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