The last of three small bridge-replacement projects that have kept portions of Route 136 closed east of Washington since August 19 is nearing completion.
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spokesman Ray Deep said the busy thoroughfare will reopen Thursday afternoon at the latest at its intersection with Brownlee Road, where the construction work has caused confusing detours and sent heavy traffic onto narrow Somerset Township roads. The closures also created heavy traffic congestion where Route 519 meets Brownlee, a road used as a popular detour from Interstate 79’s Eighty Four exit to Interstate 70 and Route 40.
“The residents will get their peace and quiet back on some of the side roads,” said Dave Blackburn, supervisors chairman in Somerset.
“We’re absolutely thrilled,” Blackburn said Tuesday.
The $2.8 million projects awarded to Swank Construction Co. of New Kensington are being completed about six weeks ahead of schedule, Deep said. The other bridges were replaced in North and South Strabane townships.
Lisa Nuccetelli, director of Greater Washington County Food Bank on Route 519 in Eighty Four, said the detours had caused some issues involving drives to Washington, but they were especially troubling for motorists who frequently drive on Route 136.
“That was a nightmare,” Nuccetelli said.
The bridge just west of Brownlee had been paved over by Tuesday. Workers will paint lines on the road Wednesday, weather permitting, and Route 136 could reopen as early as Thursday morning, Deep said.