WEST WYOMING — After five months of long detours and headaches, the Shoemaker Avenue bridge is reopened.
Kriger Construction began working on the 100-year-old bridge back in May and, according to West Wyoming Borough Administrator Maureen Zaboski, the $2 million project saw the replacement of the culvert base of the bridge, which she said is the actual structure of the bridge itself.
It reopened on Oct. 7 after originally being reported it would not reopen until Oct. 23.
West Wyoming Borough Council member Daniel Grescavage, who deals with major projects in town, is pleased with the outcome.
“The contractor did a very exceptional job,” he said. “The bridge looks wider and we have brick sidewalks. They spruced that bridge up nice.”
The five-month project forced commuters to take detours on Eighth Street, Wyoming Avenue, Dennison Street and the other end of Shoemaker Avenue.
Residents living and working along Shoemaker Avenue closest to the bridge went through endless struggles of skirting the construction to get to their destination.
Thomas M. Gill & Co. is located on Shoemaker Avenue, a few feet from the bridge. Accountant and family member Mary Gill, of Dallas, said there were struggles getting in and out of the workplace’s parking lot but, for the most part, she said everyone easily avoided the construction.
“Kriger Construction made it easy (to get around the construction),” she said. “It was inconvenient at times, but for the most part everyone cooperated with everyone. I personally never had problems, but there were a number of fender bender near misses and people not paying attention to the light. There were a lot of nasty horns.”
Emergency responders had their fair share of difficulty with the bridge project, as well.
West Wyoming Volunteer Hose Company No.1 Assistant Fire Chief Norman Ostrowski said the fire company knew of the project a year in advance and planned ahead.
Emergency responders used detours set specifically for them on East Sperling Street, Ensign Street, Morgan Street and Tripp Street.
“It did delay response time by not much, maybe a few seconds depending on traffic,” said Ostrowski. “Because of the volume of traffic that really wasn’t supposed to use that detour, it was supposed to be for emergency responders. Once everybody found out about it, everybody was using it so traffic flow was the same as if Shoemaker Avenue were still open which hampered a little bit, especially on the tighter turns with the bigger trucks.”
With the bridge reopened, Ostrowski said responders are responding quicker to emergency situations again.
Zaboski said the patience of borough residents was helpful during the construction period.
“We thank the residents of the community for being patient during the construction process and everyone is breathing a sigh of relief that the bridge is open,” she said.
Work in West Wyoming is not complete as the upper Eighth Street bridge is still undergoing construction as well with the replacement of its culvert base.
That project is expected to be done on Oct. 23.