Morning rush-hour traffic on the North Branch of the Cross Valley Expressway was, at times, a stand-still Wednesday as two lanes of southbound traffic merged into one lane.
The culprit that had so many drivers delayed is a scheduled bi-annual inspection of the Cross Valley Expressway bridge that spans the Susquehanna River, said James May, district press officer at Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. The inspection process requires a crane on the bridge which results in traffic lane restrictions.
The four-day bridge examination began with the northbound lanes on Monday and Tuesday, May said.
The southbound side of the bridge will continue to be reviewed between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. Thursday.
The temporary lane closures, combined with a $9 million bridge deck rebuilding project near Exits 3 and 4, had many motorists wondering how long the traffic pattern would be affected.
“The bridge inspection ends Thursday,” May said.
Deck rebuilding on the Cross Valley Expressway bridges that extend over Union Street in Luzerne, Vaughn and Railroad streets in Kingston will continue throughout 2016, May said.
“This project was planned years in advance,” he said. “The condition of the bridge decks was very poor.”
May estimated the bridge decks were installed in the early 1980s when the North Branch of the Cross Valley Expressway was constructed.
The bridge redecking will shut down in the winter and resume in spring 2017 with the Rutter Avenue bridge that spans over the expressway, May said.