PA Turnpike to Replace Bridge Spans in Accelerated Timeframe
Accelerated Bridge Construction improves safety but requires lengthy detours.


HARRISBURG, PA (Aug. 20, 2019) — The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is scheduled to replace two bridges in September — one in Lehigh County in early September, and the other in Cumberland County over the last two weekends in the month — using a proven engineering technique that allows workers to replace a bridge within a few days rather than having the public experience a year or more of construction and traffic delays.

“Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) is a technique that drastically decreases the traffic impact to the traveling public while reducing worker exposure in construction zones,” said Wally Wimer, PA Turnpike Senior Bridge Engineer. “It also eliminates the need for months or years of shoulder closures, single-lane traffic patterns and other restrictions for motorists. We compress the traffic control into one weekend.”

While there are many benefits to the ABC technique, Wimer cautions motorists that the bridge replacements could create significant, regional travel delays and encourages motorists to consider alternative routes, travel during off-peak hours or avoid the area altogether during the weekend closures as the detours add substantial travel time.

“Motorists traveling during these weekends could face lengthy detours in some areas that will add to their travel times,” said Wimer. “As a result, we strongly urge customers to steer clear of these areas during the detour weekends or build in plenty of extra travel time.”

The authorized detour routes will be clearly marked for both through traffic and local traffic. Motorists should pay close attention while driving the detour, looking for the orange-and-black directional signs.

The PA Turnpike’s September closures are scheduled as follows:

  • The first closure will take place from 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6 through 4 a.m. Monday, Sept. 9, on the Northeastern Extension (Interstate 476, milepost 58.88) in Lehigh County, just north of the Lehigh Valley Interchange (#56). The detour exits are the Lehigh Valley Interchange (#56) for northbound traffic and the Pocono Interchange (#95) for southbound traffic. The authorized detour route directs motorists to Route 22, Route 33 and Interstate 80. (NOTE: Local travelers heading southbound on the PA Turnpike will be able to drive past #95/Pocono and continue to exit at #87/Route 903 E-ZPass Only or #74/Mahoning Valley. The Turnpike will be closed southbound at Mahoning Valley.)  The through-traffic detour is approximately 70 miles.
  • The next bridge replacement closures will occur over two weekends beginning at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 20 through 6 a.m., Monday, Sept. 23 on the Mainline Turnpike (Interstate 76, milepost 238.09) in Cumberland County for eastbound traffic (westbound lanes will remain open). The detour exit is the Gettysburg Interchange (#236). The authorized detour directs motorists to U.S. Route 15 north to State Route 581 east then to Route 581 east to Interstate 83 south and to reenter I-76 east at Harrisburg West Interchange (#242) for a detour of 8 miles.  During the second weekend, the superstructure will be replaced going westbound (with eastbound lanes remaining open). Closures will begin at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 27 through 6 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 30.  Motorists will exit at the Harrisburg West Interchange (#242) and be directed to follow Interstate 83 north to State Route 581 west to U.S. Route 15 south and reenter I-76 at the Gettysburg Interchange (#236) for a detour of 9 miles.  

For the last several months, crews have been constructing the new bridge segments near the existing bridges. When the highway section is closed, workers will demolish the existing bridges and replace them with the new spans.

The PA Turnpike has more than 800 bridges on its system which are regularly inspected to ensure their safety and integrity. These two bridges were slated to be replaced due to their age. 

For more details and maps of the detours visit


CONTACT: Rosanne Placey, 717-831-7507
Kathleen Walter, 610-313-6383
Carl DeFebo, 717-831-7176