Reagan Street underpass

The Reagan Street underpass in Sunbury is flooded during a heavy rainstorm.

SUNBURY — A surprise shipment of materials will push up the start of the Reagan Street Mitigation Project with construction now scheduled to begin Monday.

Motorists who regularly travel on Front Street should consider an alternate route as a section of Front Street, at Reagan Street, will close for 10 days.

Both lanes of Front Street will be closed from Market to Packer streets for 10 days while crews work on the Reagan Street Flood Mitigation Project, according to engineer Lee Zeger. Traffic will be detoured coming into the city from Shamokin Dam using Chestnut Street to Fourth Street to Packer Street, according to City Administrator Derrick Backer. Entering the city from Northumberland, traffic will use Packer Street to Fourth Street to Arch Street, he said. Trucks will use Shikellamy Avenue to Fourth Street to Arch Street and Chestnut Street to Fourth Street to Shikellamy Avenue, Backer said.

Last week city officials announced the project was going to be delayed for several weeks because of material deliveries. Wednesday, city officials received news the materials had arrived thus bumping up the project.

The project, which runs from Front and Reagan streets to Fourth Street, is expected to finish in the summer of 2022.

Councilman Josh Brosious, who oversees the streets department, said he is happy with the news and wants people to be patient because even though the construction will be a pain, it will be worth it in the end when the project is complete.

Traffic delays and congestion will be likely for the next three months, he said.

“We all agree this will be a pain for a short time,” Brosious said. “However, this is a much-needed project and instead of waiting to get started, we were able to get the news it was going to start pretty quickly here, which is a good thing for our residents.”

The city received a $1 million Community Development Block Grant to alleviate flooding near the Reagan Street Underpass.

The project will replace a 15-inch combined stormwater sewer line, which backs up during severe rain events, with a 48-inch line that will become the new sewer line from Front Street to Fourth Street along Reagan.

The city will work with the Sunbury Municipal Authority for the underground pipework and UGI for relocating and retiring some gas lines. The city will also work with Norfolk Southern to coordinate work on the railroad underpass, according to officials.

The original start date was July 30 but a materials shortage was expected to delay the project, Brosious said. Since the materials arrived, it altered the schedule.

City officials are urging motorists to use Shikellamy Avenue when coming into the city from Northumberland.

Brosious said the project was a long time in the making and thanked state Rep. Lynda Culver and Sen. John Gordner for continuing to secure grants for the city.

“This is all thanks to the teamwork of everyone involved and a huge thank you to Rep. Culver, Senator Gordner, and SEDA-COG for helping the city secure the funds needed,” he said. “This is going to be a huge improvement to the northern end of the city and a small project in the grand scheme of things for the city. This project is going to be the start of the stormwater department separation. Overall this is a big win for the city.”

City Street Department Supervisor Steve Welker said the city will monitor the traffic patterns and assist when needed. Backer also urged motorists to be patient and cautious when driving through the city as some of the traffic may be from out-of-town vehicles that do not know the city streets.

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