Bethlehem Press

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PRESS PHOTO BY AL RECKER Snow covers the Thomas Lynch Bridge, under construction despite the winter weather. PRESS PHOTO BY AL RECKER Snow covers the Thomas Lynch Bridge, under construction despite the winter weather.

Hokendauqua Bridge to be named in memory of World War II figher pilot

Thursday, February 5, 2015 by AL RECKER Special to The Press in Local News

With construction of the Hokendauqua-North Catasauqua Bridge in its beginning stages, Lehigh County Director of Special Projects Rick Molchany recently said the new span over the Lehigh River linking Whitehall and North Catasauqua should be open to vehicle traffic in May.

In a new development, state Sen. Lisa Boscola's office confirmed the bridge will be named after Lt. Col. Thomas Lynch of Catasauqua, a World War II fighter pilot.

Lynch, an ace pilot who flew the P38 Lightning propeller plane, shot down 20 or more Japanese enemy planes in the southwest section of the Pacific Ocean.

He was killed in action.

Kurt Derr, aide to Boscola, said the state Senate is on board with naming the bridge in Lynch's honor, as is Penn-DOT.

Molchany said both he and Lehigh County approve honoring Lynch in such fashion.

According to Derr, a ceremony has yet to be finalized. He said the bridge most likely will display a plaque indicating Lynch's patriotism and service to the country.

Lynch has family in the area, Derr said.

Unless winter delivers a devastating snowfall, Molchany said the bi-county bridge should be open for business in May, while final touches are completed.

"They [crews] are working right now," Molchany said.

This winter has caused no delays thus far, he added.

With the massive concrete piers in place and the first section of concrete beams on both sides of the bridge up, Molchany said the public should see significant progress in the coming weeks,

After the beams are placed, the concrete deck will be poured, including sidewalks.

The new bridge replaces the former deteriorating steel grate bridge and two smaller bridges on the Whitehall Township side, near Front and Lehigh streets.

When this bridge is completd, contractor HR Construction Company will then move to the 1930s Coplay-Northampton Bridge, a two-year project that will again result in detours.