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Opening day

Anticipation is reaching a feverish pitch on both sides of the Lehigh River ahead of the 2 p.m. Dec. 19 ceremony for the opening of the new $33.5 million Coplay-Northampton Bridge, six months ahead of schedule.

The ribbon-cutting program is expected to draw a large crowd of residents and elected officials who anxiously await the new bridge being open to vehicle traffic.

Rick Molchany, Lehigh County director of general services, credited the project contractor, Trumbull Construction, of Pittsburgh, with exemplary work, taking six months off the expected mid-2020 opening.

The first car across the bridge after the ribbon-cutting ceremony will have Lehigh County Executive Phillips Armstrong and Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure as passengers.

Coplay Borough Mayor Dean Molitoris and Northampton Borough Mayor Thomas Reenock will ride in the second vehicle.

Fire and police departments from both boroughs will also be part of the brigade.

The now-demolished bridge was dedicated in August 1931 and closed May 2017 for a new span. The bridge carried approximately 11,0000 vehicles daily.

PRESS PHOTO BY SCOTT M. NAGYThe new Coplay-Northampton Bridge is expected to open to traffic Dec. 19, six months ahead of schedule.