Route 23 Bridge reopens ahead of schedule in Schuylkill Township

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Crews put the finishing touches on the Route 23 (Valley Forge Road) Bridge Tuesday morning. (WPVI)

Crews put the finishing touches on the Route 23 (Valley Forge Road) Bridge Tuesday morning in Schuylkill Township, Chester County. By the afternoon, they were removing the last of the road closed signs.

The heavily-traveled span linking Valley Forge and Phoenixville reopened today, seven weeks ahead of schedule.

"It still feels like eight years, but yeah, we're okay with that," Nef Castro of Phoenixville said.

"To go to the King of Prussia Mall or just to get around, it's the major pass through for the whole town," Amy Quay of Phoenixville said.

And with this major pass-through closed for reconstruction, one side was cut off from the other since April.

Khronis Sapalidas owns the Valley Forge Trattoria and Lounge. He had just finished expanding his restaurant when the bridge shut down.

"It was like a disaster. It was like all of a sudden traffic is not around. It was tough times.," Sapalidas asid.

Close to 20,000 vehicles typically cross the span. With it closed, motorists endured long detours and lengthy traffic delays.

Action News spoke with Sue Kammerle who works at a Phoenix Rehab Center on the Valley Forge side.

"Very challenging, difficult for patients to get here. Typical five minute drive over the bridge sometimes, in rush hour, can take 45 which limited their ability to get here which has hurt us businesswise," Kammerle said.

But those dark days are over. The Route 23 Bridge is back open. Here in Schuylkill Township, that's reason to celebrate.

"We have a party tonight, a party to celebrate the opening of the bridge. Finally. Thank God," Sapalidas said.

PennDOT says the contractor made a concerted effort to get the project done early and they did - in time for rush hour tonight.
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