Kittanning Citizen’s Bridge to reopen Friday
After eight months of the lane closures and delays, the Kittanning Citizen’s Bridge is expected to fully reopen today.
Crews expected to do final tests on the bridge in the morning now that the $4.7 million project to repaint and repair the span is complete, said Andrew Firment, Armstrong County PennDOT Manager.
Officials plan to test the strength of the bridge’s surface and pillars and the bridge should be reopened by late afternoon, Firment said.
“We’re expecting everything to be fine,” Firment said. “I’m just as excited as everyone else to get this bridge open, because it will help traffic flow better and should help bring traffic back to the area’s businesses.”
The bridge’s outbound lane has been closed since March. Work was expected to wrap up in October, but was delayed by bad weather throughout the summer.
Kittanning Council President Randy Cloak said he’s glad to see the bridge reopening. While the partial closure was an inconvenience, Cloak said it was necessary.
“We’re glad the Commonwealth did this because it would have been much more of an inconvenience if it had been left to fall into deeper disrepair and eventually become unusable altogether,” Cloak said. “This and the road repairs in Kittanning I see as an investment in Armstrong County.”
Jeff Bowser, owner of Bugsy’s Pizza, said he was overjoyed to hear the bridge would be reopening. He said he’s hopeful to regain business lost during the project, but thinks it will be a slow process.
“We’re finally going to be back and open for regular business,” Bowser said. “I’ve been doing this for more than 30 years, and I’ve worked through floods and the storms of 1996 and 2006, but I’ve never had one particular event hurt me as much as this bridge.”
Bowser said the bridge closure has cost him about 33 percent of his business since March. He responded by closing for lunch and various times daily, stopping advertisement mailings to Applewold and West Kittanning.
The shop plans to celebrate the bridge opening by offering specials to Applewold and West Kittanning residents on Wednesday and Thursday.
“They couldn’t cross the bridge most of the year, so hopefully, this will give them reason to come back,” Bowser said.
Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or [email protected].