Work begins on the Forman Street Bridge today. This means a significant change for traffic patterns in the downtown area and severely restricted access to U.S. Route 219 northbound from downtown.
The Route 219 Southbound exit at Forman Street will remain open, but those exiting the highway will only be able to get to Hilton Street or re-enter the highway northbound. The right turn to reach Forman Street will not be accessible from that off-ramp.
While an access road has been installed from Davis Street to Forman Street for temporary access to the Holiday Inn Express and to facilitate better response time for emergency personnel, this road is not for general traffic in the area.
According to Bradford City Police Chief Chris Lucco, “The access road is strictly for employees and patrons of Holiday Inn Express and for emergency vehicles to get to the hotel, as well as respond to any incidents on the highway or the Hilton street area. That will be enforced.”
However, the temporary roadway does have a pedestrian and bicycle lane that can be used freely.
Concerns about delays for emergency services in general can be put to rest. In addition to the installation of the access road, Bradford City Fire Department has been proactive in regard to the bridge repairs.
“The good news is, they advised us this was happening, and we have contingency plans in place. People shouldn’t see any large disruption in response time for fire and EMS,” said Bradford City Fire Lt. Cathy Mealy. “We have two stations for similar reasons, and we do have access (via the access road) for emergency situations.”
Lucco also confirmed that police response time should not be greatly influenced by the road closure.
For residents who have business in the downtown area, trips may require additional time in order to complete.
“You are certainly going to experience delays having to travel through town. We encourage residents to try to use the main thoroughfares throughout town and plan accordingly for delays,” Lucco said.
It is also important for those who are trying to use Route 219 northbound to remember that access from downtown will not be an option. Those travelers will need to plan an alternative route that involves either the Owens Way on-ramp or the ramp at Bolivar Drive.
Finally, locals should keep the road closure in mind for any relatives or friends visiting the area, as they will need assistance routing around the road closure that a GPS system may not provide.
Work is expected to take until late October.