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Allentown's 8th St. Bridge to undergo repairs

By Jamie Stover, Reporter, JStover@wfmz.com
Published On: May 05 2014 04:02:47 AM CDT
Updated On: May 05 2014 07:47:12 AM CDT

Bridge to undergo repairs

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

A historic bridge in Allentown is set for a major makeover.

The construction will revitalize the bridge and change traffic patterns.

But some residents claim it will also save lives.

Construction crews were set to begin work on the 8th Street Bridge, known by some as the "Suicide Bridge," on Monday, but according to PennDOT, construction delays have bumped the start date to Wednesday.

The landmark was built more than a century ago and is one of many bridges on Pennsylvania's "structurally deficient" list.

The $18.5 million price tag will go toward replacing the bridge deck and fixing its piers. It will also fund new lighting, curbing, and signs.

During construction, changes to traffic patterns will also be made.

Northbound traffic will be reduced to one lane.

Southbound will be shut down completely.

PennDot is re-routing drivers onto Union and Lehigh streets.

Some Allentown residents have spent the last two years trying to persuade officials to include a fence in the project. Now, their efforts are coming full circle.

"There was a lot of suicides, so I couldn't just sit around and watch things happen," said Angelo Laro Maldonado, Takeover Ministries.

Maldonado said he and others who pushed for the fence, are thrilled that the fence will be installed.

Now, they're hoping for a change in name too.

"Our desire is they will change it to the Bridge of Hope," Maldonado said.

PennDot said the project should be finished in December 2016.