Sewickley Bridge project one of many PennDOT tackling this year

A rehab project on the Sewickley Bridge later this spring will cause some lengthy detours for the thousands of drivers who use it every day.

After the school year ends in May, PennDOT will close the bridge for 16 days.

The detours will be Routes 51, 65 and I-79, but that presents a problem, especially for emergency services.

We flew Drone 11 over the bridge to show you the route the Valley Ambulance Authority ambulances normally take. They just have to cross the bridge and go up Route 65 to get to Heritage Valley Sewickley Hospital -- a 1 1/2 mile drive.

But, the closure will add seven miles just to get to the front door. A four minute drive across the bridge and onto University Boulevard would be extended to about 11 minutes using a detour once the bridge is closed.

Officials said it’s hard to predict exactly how much time the detours could impact your commute because it depends on what time of the day you’re driving and what direction you are going.

PennDOT said the project should extend the life of the bridge’s deck by 20 years.

We’ll let you know when dates are released for the closure.

PennDOT is also prepared to reduce the bridge on Big Sewickley Creek Road to one lane. That will also start in the spring and finish in the fall.