COOLBAUGH TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A bridge in Monroe County is back open after being closed for exactly one year.
The Main Street Bridge over Tobyhanna Creek in Coolbaugh Township was closed for repairs. Drivers and people who live by it are relieved to see it open.
People who live in this part of Coolbaugh Township say while the work took longer than they expected, they are glad it's finally finished.
It's been a long year for people who live and drive through this part of Coolbaugh Township.
A bridge replacement project over Tobyhanna Creek took drivers like Joe Ginda longer than he cared for to get around the township.
"Hassle ain't even the word. Just to go around this circle here you had to go three miles out of your way just to go around the block here," explained Ginda.
PennDOT closed the bridge last June. Work on the $1.2 million project included replacing the existing masonry arch bridge with a concrete box beam bridge. There are also new guide rails.
People who had a front row seat to the construction say it needed to happen.
"It really needed to be done," said Marion Jolly of Coolbaugh Township. "The water was seeping through the bridge, and in the winter, the icicles would just hang underneath it, and since it was an old stone bridge with the arches, it didn't allow enough water flow, so if we had heavy rains or the snow melt off it would cause flooding on the property, back up into the streets and other houses, so now we have a lot more clearance."
PennDOT originally said the project would be finished last November. However, weather and some other issues prevented crews from hitting the target date. Now that the bridge is back open, people at nearby Lombardi's wonder what they are going to talk about.
"I keep telling everyone there is going to be nothing to talk about in Tobyhanna anymore because it seems that anyone who walks through the door, that's the only thing they talk about is the bridge being closed," said John Lombardi, Lombardi's kitchen manager. "Now we have to find a new ice breaker and conversation starter. It will help business because that road is pretty well traveled by the locals."
People who live in this part of Monroe County hope the bridge stays in good shape for years to come so this easy access road will stay open.