Parks and Recreational Areas
The dual bridges carry I-80 over the Lehigh River, Lehigh Gorge State Park and Trail, Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad, and River Road in White Oaven Borough, Luzerne County, and East Side Borough and Kidder Township, Carbon County. Required Right-of-Way, Aerial Easements, Slope Easement, and Temporary Construction Easements are necessary for the project, including approximately six acres from Lehigh Gorge State Park.
Construction of the I-80 bridges is expected to take approximately four years to complete, estimated to begin in 2023. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has broken ground on a capital improvements project in Lehigh Gorge State Park that is planned to be completed in 2022. Anticipated temporary impacts to Lehigh Gorge State Park property and the Lehigh River Water Trail are summarized below.
Lehigh Gorge Trail:
- April through October: Overnight trail closures are anticipated. Short-term trail closures are anticipated during daylight hours Monday through Friday using flggers and advance signage.
- November through March: Long-term trail closures in the vicinity of the bridges are anticipated.
Lehigh Gorge State Park driveway and parking:
- The driveway and parking will be closed from the White Haven Shopping Center to the future park facilities south of the bridges.
- The future park entrance south of the bridges will remain open during construction, including the overflow parking area and a portion of the parking along the driveway.
- The boat launch directly under the bridges will be closed during construction.
- The three future boat launches being constructed downstream of the bridge will remain open during construction.
Lehigh River Water Trail:
- Temporary causeways will extend from both riverbanks but will not completely block the river.
- An Aids to Navigation Plan will be implemented to ensure safe passage for boaters through the construction area and will include advance signing.
PennDOT will also provide replacement land as part of mitigation for Required Right-of-Way, Aerial Easement, Slope Easement, and Temporary Construction Easements within Lehigh Gorge State Park.
The majority of Lehigh Gorge State Park will remain open during bridge construction, and access to the boat launches and Lehigh River will be maintained. The contractor will restore disturbed areas, and full access to park amenities will be provided upon completion. The project will not adversely impact the recreational functions of the resources.