Indiana Hill bridge officially closed to traffic

Larry McGuire
Staff Writer

How are you surviving the closure of Indiana Hill? The Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce wants to remind area residents that just because the bridge is being replaced doesn’t mean the businesses located on the Punxsutawney side are not open for business.

It all began early on Monday as the main route through Punxsutawney, Route 119, was officially closed for the removal of the bridge that travels over the Mahoning Shadow Trail on the Indiana Hill.

Katie Laska, president of the Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce, said they want the public to know that all of the businesses are open and not involved in the construction project, which is further up the hill, unlike when the bridge over Mahoning Creek was reconstructed and there was much congestion and barricades that partially blocked the entrances to several businesses.

Meanwhile, workers from Palo Construction, the contractor on the bridge replacement project, began knocking the old bridge down with a pile driver.

Once the bridge is removed, construction crews will place the remaining fill in that area, and a precast concrete box culvert carrying traffic over the Mahoning Shadow Trail will be put into place.

In addition, construction of an additional travel lane will provide for a climbing lane southbound on SR 119 from the bottom of the hill to connect with the existing climbing lane above the bridge.

Laska said that she’s been asked why five of the seven parking spaces on the north side of West Mahoning Street (closest to the traffic signal at Gilpin Street) were temporarily removed.

She said PennDOT will continue to evaluate that decision.

The detour during this time will utilize SR 436 and SR 36 back through town to connect with SR 119.