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Stites Tunnel open after long construction project

A stretch of route 191 including the Stites Tunnel near Mount Pocono re-opened Friday.

MOUNT POCONO, Pa. — The light at the end of the tunnel is finally here for some commuters in Monroe county.

Construction on the Stites tunnel near Mount Pocono is finally complete.

The stretch of route 191 was closed in December of 20-18.

It just re-opened Friday.

"And as soon as it was open, [the cars] I saw one truck he came down around the corner, he was going to take the detour go up that way. What did he do? He said woo! I think it's open and he turned around and he came down through and he waved and blew the horn at me!" said Bertie Kitzhoffer. 

For more than a year and a half drivers were forced to use a detour that took about 15 minutes

"It's been very difficult because you have to take all of these other back roads instead of just going straight the way you need to," said Brittany Clark.

The project was originally slated to wrap up last July.

The work was extended once because of winter weather, and then again because of the coronavirus.

One couple saw the tunnel was open on Facebook and came for a drive because they needed to see it to believe their days of taking the detour were over

"It's probably a little longer and there's more traffic when we get off on 80 sometimes. But it's a God send that it's open after a year and a half," said Michael Cohan.

Most drivers we spoke with say in addition to saving time, the drive through the tunnel is far more scenic than the detour.

Those who live nearby say workers made vast improvements to the tunnel.

"That's an amazing bridge with the water on one side, the road on the other with the railroad above," Kitzhoffer said.

The tunnel was paved and re-sided.

New guide rails and approach structures were installed for safety.