By Ashley Wislock
The Daily Item
SUNB URY - While construction projects throughout the Valley may provide headaches for drivers throughout the summer, the projects will provide much-needed improvements to roads, say PennDOT officials.
The $3.9 million project to reconstruct Route 45 (Chestnut Street) in Mifflinburg, from Route 104 to Forest Hill Road, may be an inconvenience to drivers, but there’s no way such a huge reconstruction project can be done without some detouring, said Eric High, assistant district executive for maintenance in PennDOT’s Region 3.
The type of reconstruction being done is needed once every 50 to 100 years as roads begin to resist more minor fixes such as patching, High said.
“If you keep patching, it doesn’t last,” he said. “You see continual patching and continual failing ... The same cracks come up.”
PennDOT tries to minimize impact during these projects and often coordinates them with local utility companies to see if utility work can be done at the same time.
“We don’t do this often and we try to minimize it,” High said.
Work on Route 54 in Danville will also lead to some headaches this summer, as work to lengthen the turning lanes near the road’s intersection with Spruce, Ferry and Montour streets and Route 11 continues, said T. Jay Cunningham, assistant district executive for PennDOT Region 3.
The work is also being coordinated with Geisinger to ensure the hospital can get through in case of emergency and with other projects at the intersection which will begin following PennDOT’s work, including a floor protection project and a railroad project, said High.
“It’s going to be a very busy place to travel this summer,” he said.
Beginning Monday, travellers should also expect delays at the intersection of Routes 45 and 15 in Lewisburg as crews work to replace a manhole cover, said PennDOT Community Relations Coordinator Rick Mason. Traffic is encouraged to detour around the intersection during the work, which, weather permitting, should be done by the weekend or at most the following Monday, Mason said.
Traffic will also be detoured around two bridges in Northumberland County through November as the bridges undergo extensive work, said Cunningham. The bridges are both on Route 405, just west of Route 147 in West Chillisquaque Township. The projects were paired to minimize inconvenience, Cunningham said.
“It’s going to be a one-year inconvenience instead of a multi-year inconvenience,” he said.
In a preview of extensive work to come, work on a bridge on Old Trail in Shamokin Dam will begin in May, with more extensive work along the entire length of the road next year, Cunningham said.
The work will both improve the road surface and the drainage along the road, which spans about three miles through Shamokin Dam and Hummels Wharf, Cunningham said.