SHAMOKIN DAM — PennDOT officials will have a plan within the next two months on whether construction crews will work 24/7 in the southern section of the $865 million Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway project.

PennDOT assistant plans engineer Matt Beck provided an update on the project to the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee on Friday via Zoom. The northern section with the $156 million river bridge will be ready for drivers in 2022, but the southern section is still awaiting final design.

"We remain on track with major activities so that work under the first planned contract can start next year," said Beck. "We are working through the issue of noise in general at night. They have been looking at pros and cons to working at night and ways to deal with it."

Shamokin Dam Mayor Joe McGranaghan, who chairs the Transportation Committee, said the issue was discussed at a recent public meeting.

"They (residents) did not want 24-hour-a-day operations. They were concerned about that," said McGranaghan.

Beck said within two months PennDOT will have a "good handle" on the topic and will reach back out to the municipalities. Beck said the cost of construction goes up the longer the period of construction goes.

PennDOT is also performing one last check of deeds of property owners who will be affected by the southern section. The right of way acquisition plan defines the areas of land and types of easements needed to accommodate the various features of the project over the bulk of its footprint, said Beck.

The $156 million bridge constructed 180 feet above the Susquehanna River was completed in December. The northern section of the project will be finished next year, Beck said.

New Enterprise over the summer will construct the pavement from Ridge Road in Point Township to the north side of the river bridge and then from the other side of the bridge to the Winfield interchange and ramps. In the fall and winter, they will prepare for 2022 to pave the wearing course, construct the lanes and realign Route 405 onto existing Route 147, officials said.

The wind study on the bridge model was wrapped up last year, but they are still analyzing the data, said Beck.

"Those critical wind speeds depend on the type of vehicle, the direction of wind, speed of the vehicle and lane it's traveling in," said Beck. "It will take some time to interpret the results and establish if any traffic advisories or restrictions are needed."

The southern section is set to be finished in 2027.

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