Luzerne County Council to discuss Nanticoke/West Nanticoke Bridge options

A briefing on Nanticoke/West Nanticoke Bridge options has been scheduled for Tuesday’s Luzerne County Council work session, according to the agenda.

Council must decide how it wants to proceed in addressing the county-owned span over the Susquehanna River, which carries Lower Broadway Street in Nanticoke to Route 11 in the West Nanticoke section of Plymouth Township.

The last public update was in November, when the county’s outside engineer recommended rehabilitation and partial replacement of the existing bridge for approximately $39.6 million instead of constructing a new bridge at an estimated cost of $64 million.

“This alternative is recommended primarily due to the improved safety for the public, shorter construction duration and lower overall cost for the county,” said the November preliminary engineering summary prepared by Alfred Benesch and Associates, which was retained by the county to complete a study and determine the “best and most economical” option.

Unless other funding surfaces, county officials planned to pay for the bridge project with casino funding available for county infrastructure projects.

Authorized by state legislation, the $55 million is available because the county redevelopment authority entered into a borrowing agreement to create a county infrastructure fund that will be repaid with $3 million provided annually for 25 years from the casino-gambling Local Share Account (LSA).

Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Margie Thomas said the financing package in place contains a letter of credit allowing the county to receive $55 million for projects.

If council chooses to proceed with a new bridge, it appears additional funding would have to be identified to pay for it.

Using up the entire LSA infrastructure pot on the bridge also would impact several other county-owned road projects council had agreed to complete if funding was left over.

These other projects as previously approved by council, along with the projected costs: Main Road in Hunlock and Ross townships, $1 million; Lower Demunds Road and Upper Demunds Road in Dallas and Franklin townships, $650,000; Ransom Road in Dallas and Franklin townships, $500,000; Church Road in Wright Township, $500,000; Oak Hill Road in Wright Township, $500,000; Crestwood Drive in Wright Township, $250,000; Old Airport Road in Butler Township, $250,000; and Hanover Street in Hanover Township, $250,000.

According to the November Benesch summary, three alternatives were investigated for the Nanticoke/West Nanticoke Bridge.

The recommended one — rehabilitation and partial replacement — would replace three truss spans with four conventional steel beam spans on new piers. It also would replace the superstructure on the 21 southern approach spans and widen the bridge deck.

This would cost $39.6 million and take 2.6 years to complete, it said.

The two other options:

• Truss rehabilitation, which includes rehabilitation of the three truss spans to restore their original load-carrying capacities and remove the existing 15-ton weight posting and rehabilitation and superstructure replacement of 21 southern approach spans.

This would cost $47.8 million and have a construction duration of 3.1 years.

• Full replacement, which would construct a completely new bridge structure on a new alignment to the west of the existing bridge using “precast prestressed bulb-tee beams and optimized span arrangements.”

This would cost $64 million and require 3.3 years for completion.

Constructed in 1914, the 1,922-foot bridge was last rehabilitated in 1987.

Because Tuesday’s work session is for discussion only, council would have to vote on a bridge plan at a future meeting.

Tuesday’s work session follows a 6 p.m. voting meeting in the county courthouse on River Street in Wilkes-Barre. Instructions for the remote attendance option are posted under council’s online meetings link at

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.


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