Officials at the state Department of Transportation are making an excellent decision to run two full daily work shifts for the construction of the southern section of the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway (CSVT) bypass project next year, one that extends consideration to area residents and motorists and could save up to $10 million in costs.

Construction is slated to begin next year on the southern section, the part that will essentially bypass the Routes 11-15 business strip in Shamokin Dam and Hummels Wharf, allowing a free flow of north-south traffic for all motorists who are just passing through with no plans to stop, shop, eat or sleep.

Deploying two full construction shifts will enable completion of the highway on time, in 2027, rather than running two reduced shifts or a single 10-hour shift, which could have extended the completion date to 2028 or 2029.

As Matt Beck, a PennDOT assistant plans engineer, told members of the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee on Friday, the two-full-shift plan will be better for residents and motorists.

“With a tighter schedule comes one less year of dust and noise overall, one less year of impact to traffic on existing roads and one less year of general disturbance,” Beck said. Toss in the fact that PennDOT will likely save $5 million to $10 million on specialized equipment expenses, and it appears that officials are clearly making the right choice.

Meanwhile, construction continues on the northern section of the project, which will carry traffic over a nearly one-mile-long bridge spanning the West Branch of the Susquehanna River to link Route 15 just south of Winfield in Union County with Route 147 and I-180 in Northumberland County.

Ted Deptula, PennDOT construction engineer, said concrete asphalt paving for the northern portion should start in September and the entire northern section, including that $156 million river bridge, should be ready for drivers in 2022.

That’s great news for the residents of Northumberland because the northern section of the CSVT will substantially reduce the number of tractor-trailer trucks that have — for decades — rumbled up and down Duke Street as part of their north-south journeys.

NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Digital Editor Dave Hilliard.

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