The completion date for a bridge replacement in Pocono Township is being pushed back.
The Stites Tunnel Bridge on Route 191 has been closed to traffic since January.
Now we’re told it’s been extended till the spring.
Cresco Resident Tavahn Ward doesn’t want to deal with the Stites Tunnel Bridge on Route 191 being closed past it’s original completion date of December.
Ward says, "It’s a big inconvenience actually, going to Stroudsburg through the back way, the detour is kind of annoying and it causes traffic so it’s slowing everyone down."
But unfortunately PennDOT announced today that’s now the case. The work is expected to to extend till early may of next year.
PennDOT Press Officer Sean Brown says, "Our contractor for the project has had some weather related issues. As part of this project, we’re both replacing the bridge on 191 and doing some work to the tunnel and there’s been with all the amount of rain we had this past year, there are some delays from the tunnel work."
The bridge will remain closed and passenger vehicles will continue to use the detour set up on Route 715 and Cherry Lane Road. While Paradise Township resident John Smith is also annoyed by the extension. He can handle the 10 to 15 minutes out of his way.
Smith says, "For the improvement at the end, we’ll take it. But it’s the tourists that I worry about, the people that come in that can’t get where they want to go in a reasonable amount of time, get lost."
Smith’s concerns are valid. It's a major thoroughfare for the businesses on Route 191 and we’re told it is going to be detrimental.
General Manager Susie Eckhart of Kasa's Pizza, Taco Bell and the Turkey Hill Ice Creamery says, "This tunnel is the route for offices in Mount Pocono to Stroudsburg take so we’re the stop for lunch, but we’re not anymore. So it’s been very very hard to make ends meat."
When we first spoke with those in charge of businesses, they were optimistic the construction wasn’t effecting them too much, but now it’s taken a turn for the worse.
Eckhart says, "Once summer died down and all the tourists left, then we were seeing exactly how much of an impact it was having on the business and it’s a big one."
When the work is completed the current weight restriction for the bridge will be eliminated.