Road issues

I-81 Lackawanna County Road Issues

LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The cold weather of this winter season is wreaking havoc on our roads and our vehicles.

Thawing and then refreezing are causing concern around some bridges on Interstate 81. Vehicles are rocked as they hit frost heaves leaving bridges on Interstate 81 south. The video shows that the wheels of a trailer actually lift off the road.

“Once I got over it, I heard a loud noise towards the rear of the car and realized my rear tire had burst,” said Dr Fred Bonacci of Archbald.

Dr. Bonacci was on his way to his dentist office in Plains Township. The impact occurred on the I-81 bridge over the turnpike at Mile 179. He saw his tire pressure drop before coming to a stop near the Avoca exit.

“It’s a shame that it happens at 50 to 60 miles per hour,” Dr. Bonacci said.

Bonacci called roadside assistance to get him back on the road.

“I noticed that with the freezing period we had, the height of the roadway near the bridge has increased over the last week,” said Dr Bonacci.

PennDOT tells Eyewitness News that when frost heave occurs around the bridge, crews come out and inspect the bridge to make sure everything is okay. They then monitor the movement of the roadway.

“It’s like a pothole. Every time water gets under the sidewalk, it contracts and expands depending on the temperature and that’s what’s happening in this case,” said Jessica Ruddy, community relations coordinator for PennDOT.

Ruddy says water is powerful when it freezes. In addition to the bridge near the Moosic exit, there is another bridge in the same direction past Davis Street that has the same problem. Construction pylons have been placed to warn motorists. Ruddy adds that frost can form anywhere, so drive carefully.

“If you’re approaching a bridge you can slow down, then when you’re coming off a bridge make sure you maintain your speed and that should lessen the impact,” Ruddy said.

As a reminder, you can report any issues with frost heaving and/or potholes or you can call 1-800-FIX-ROAD.