The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

July 1, 2013

Median coming to the Veterans Memorial Bridge

By Francis Scarcella
The Daily Item

— SUNBURY — Nearly a year after a head-on collision killed a father and son on Veterans Memorial Bridge, the state Department of Transportation on Monday will begin a project to shave 2 feet off existing lanes and add a median on the span linking Sunbury and Shamokin Dam.

The goal is to reduce the potential for crossover or head-on crashes on the 2,908-foot-long bridge, PennDOT spokesman said Rick Mason said.

Veterans Memorial has 12- and 11-foot-wide lanes for eastbound and westbound traffic. PennDOT contractor Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc. will create four 11-foot-wide lanes, two in each direction, which will allow for the 2-foot median, Mason said.

There have been nine crashes on the bridge or its approaches on either side of the Susquehanna River since 2010, Mason said.

“Most of the crashes occurred on the ramps leading to the bridge,” he said.

Kirk Mahaffey, 22, and his 3-year old son, Mayson, both of Northumberland, died following a head-on collision on the bridge last July.

State police at Stonington are investigating the crash.

Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Rosini said his office has not filed charges against the Port Trevorton driver who troopers said crossed the yellow center lines and hit Mahaffey’s vehicle.

Rosini on Friday said the investigation remains open.

Troopers said the Port Trevorton driver was traveling east in the left lane of the bridge and swerved into the path of Mahaffey’s vehicle, which was heading west.

Only a double yellow line separates lanes for traffic heading in opposite directions.

On Monday, Hawbaker will remove traffic lines starting on the eastbound lanes and will continue until completed, Mason said.

Traffic will be maintained throughout the project using daylight signing patterns, and ramps will be placed under temporary stop conditions. Traffic will be shifted into lanes using cones.

Motorists are advised to be alert for daily traffic changes, and to plan for extra time to travel across the bridge.

No work will be scheduled from the afternoon of July 3 through July 5, Mason said.

The project was a result of a safety study conducted by PennDOT, Mason said.

More than 26,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day, and more than 10 million each year, Mason said.

All work is scheduled for completion by Aug. 9.