Put a bow on the bridge
It’s an early Christmas present for anyone affected by the closure of the Coplay-Northampton Bridge. The new $33.5 million state-of-the-art span will be open to traffic before the December holiday.
Rick Molchany, Lehigh County director of general services, confirmed the new concrete bridge will “certainly open” before Christmas, six months ahead of schedule. The specific date is expected to be announced shortly.
The news is a welcomed relief to the two communities on either side of the Lehigh River — Coplay and Northampton boroughs — since the projected opening was June 2020.
“Although the bridge will be open to vehicle traffic, there may be lane closures from time to time as construction winds down,” Molchany said.
He credited Trumbull Construction, Pittsburgh, with its quality work, adding that the company stayed on budget and finished ahead of the three-year schedule.
While the bridge closure was difficult on some businesses, not a single one closed as the months went by.
Bill Loy, owner of Samuel Owens Restaurant & Bar, 128 Chestnut St., said the bridge being closed may have had an affect on his dining patrons, but he supplemented his services with additional catering.
“My car sales took a major hit,” Robert Wolfe, owner of Rob’s Auto Sales, 702 Chestnut St., said. “I would have had to close if it were not for auto repairs.”
Molchany said a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new bridge will take place before officially opening to traffic. Some suggested the ribbon not be the usual yellow, but rather red or green with a bow to tie in with Christmas.
There will be local elected officials from both boroughs and officials from Lehigh and Northampton counties present for the opening ceremony.
Officially, the bridge will be called the Brigadier General Anna Mae V. McCabe Hays Bridge, in honor of her Lehigh County roots. The previous span was named after her in 2015, and the moniker will remain.