With a marching band performance and a few snips, people in West Middlesex celebrated the Shenango River bridge re-opening.
It’s not completely done, but the seven months of detours is.
“It has definitely been a thorn,” said Shenango Township Police Chief Jason Newton.
Newton says the bridge closure slowed his officers down.
“The bridge separates the east and west side. There’s really no other way for us to get to one end to the other without going through one or two other municipalities,” he said.
That added trip also affected taxpayers.
“Our gas line item in our budget has increased because we have to detour around everything,” Newton said.
But according to the construction crew, the temporary headache was worth it.
“From a 718-foot span to a 240-foot span, that saves a lot of assets for PennDOT,” said Ralph Aylesworth, assistant construction manager for Mercer and Venango counties.
And while a smaller bridge may not seem like a big deal…
“Oh, it’s beautiful,” said resident David Mancel.
People are expecting a lot.
“Oh, it’ll change this whole thing. Oh yeah, there’ll be a bed and breakfast and everything else will come down here,” Mancel said.
And Mancel should know — he was at the first bridge opening in 1941.
The bridge will officially be open to traffic starting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night.
Construction started back in April and is expected to finish in the spring.