By Brad Segall

UPPER PROVIDENCE, Pa. (CBS) — There’s light at the end of the tunnel for the thousands of drivers who have had to find detours to get around a key bridge in Montgomery County that’s been shut down for a year because of structural problems.

The county commissioners have given the go-ahead for the contract to begin demolition work and make way for a new Arcola Road bridge.

The span, which links Lower and Upper Providence, near Collegeville, was closed by Penndot inspectors after a safety inspection last summer.

Pennsylvania state representative Mike Vereb says this approval by the county puts construction about six to eight months ahead of schedule.

“This bridge is responsible for 8,800 round trips a day, and we want the bridge open to get those people back on that bridge, back on that road, and hopefully not have any more negative impact to the economy on either side of the bridge,” Vereb said today.

The closure, he says, has created bottlenecks on Main Street, on Ridge Pike, and on Germantown Pike.

The county will put up the $5.3-million cost but 95 percent of that will be reimbursed.

Officials hope to start construction next month and have the bridge opened in about a year.