It’s been a long road — one lined with orange barrels and detour signs — for the residents of Northumberland and those who regularly drive through the borough.

Fortunately for just about everyone, the end of a four-year project to rebuild Duke and Water streets is coming to an end.

Final construction work will go on for the next few weeks with a completion date now set for Aug. 10, said Kim Smith, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.

It has been difficult, but the $14 million project was necessary. Engineers explain that once every few decades, it is necessary to replace the subbase of roads and streets, which deteriorate every 30 to 50 years or so. It’s impossible to correct the problems with a pretty top coat because without a solid subbase, the top surface just keeps breaking apart.

And while crews are digging all the way down to ground level, it’s a good idea to upgrade utility lines and other things under the road surface so all is good for another few decades.

In addition to all of the upgrades, major intersections on Water Street at Duke Street and King Street were reconfigured to increase turning space and improve traffic flow and safety.

Through it all, there have been many twists, turns and detours for residents, and especially businesses, but Mayor Dan Berard notes that the end is now within sight.

“Our residents have been patient,” he said. “And we are all looking forward to not having all the stoppages we’ve had since this began in 2017.”

The mayor said he has been pleased with the work that has been completed. “In time, this will all have been a distant memory,” he said.

Construction will continue this next week on Routes 147 and 11 (Duke, Front, Water and King streets). The contractor, New Enterprise Stone and Lime Co., is working on various items to finish up the project, including placing topsoil and grass seed. Final line painting will continue next week and there will be flushing of pipes and sidewalk repairs.

On behalf of all of those who did not have to drive through these construction zones every day, we recognize the hard work of design, logistical and construction crews employed by the state Department of Transportation, commend the patience of Northumberland residents and business owners and wish all Pineknotters safe and much smoother travels.

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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