Bridge questions answered
Replacement of the Coplay-Northampton Bridge is expected to begin this month.
Work on the span, built in the 1930s, is part of Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s $458 million project to upgrade the area’s transportation system.
The cost of the new bridge is estimated at $33.5 million. Eighty percent will come from federal funding. Fifteen percent will come from the state, while the remaining 5 percent will come from Lehigh County.
Motorists will need to take alternate routes while the bridge is closed — a three-year projection.
Rick Molchany, director of general services for Lehigh County, answered questions regarding traffic flow in the Northampton and Coplay areas.
When will motorists start seeing signs of the bridge work?
Our plan calls for a Notice to Proceed on March 20.
When will the bridge officially close? And how long will it be closed?
The bridge will be closed within a month or so after the Notice to Proceed is issued on March 20. Motorists will be informed prior to the date of closing via signage in the area. The bridge project is scheduled for three years.
How many motorists do you estimate will be affected by the closure?
In excess of 11,000 vehicles per day will be affected — and up to 15,000 on peak days.
How will you be rerouting vehicles and/or assisting them in getting to their destinations?
We have an approved detour in place using the Hokendauqua-North Catasauqua Bridge. Some may find it more convenient to use the Cementon-Northampton Bridge; however, the Hokendauqua-North Catasauqua Bridge will be the official detour.
Local residents know the roadway network and will use alternate means to get to their destinations.
What can motorists expect to see in the new bridge?
The new bridge will feature a modern design with a 100-year life. The finish will be similar to that of the Hokendauqua-North Catasauqua Bridge.
Will there be an official dedication ceremony?
The bridge will be dedicated and officially opened in June of 2020.
It will be dedicated to Brigadier General Anna Mae Hays, the first woman ever to achieve the U.S. military rank of general. Hays was not born in the Lehigh Valley; however, she was raised here, attended school locally and calls Lehigh County home. She was inducted into the Lehigh County Hall of Fame during the county’s 200-year celebration in 2012.