PennDOT adds to area projects

BY STACI WILSON

Nearly 40 percent of the state owned roads in Susquehanna County are rated as being in “poor condition.”

That number should come at no surprise to local residents who drive those roads each day.

PennDOT District 4 Press Officer James May said the state agency is looking to address some of those bad roads with more improvements now on tap than anticipated because of revenue increases this year resulting from the state transportation bill package.

According to May with the influx of revenue, PennDOT will pave an additional 55 miles of roadway that wasn’t on the original plan for this construction season. Portions of routes 29, 92, 706 and 167 will have work done on them because of the available funds.

State Route 29 north of Montrose, from Franklin Twp. to the state line will be paved.

The work will coincide with the slide repair at the state line. The repair is scheduled to go out to bid within the month.

Work on SR 92 will run about 12 miles – from the county line near Nicholson to Gibson Twp.

And along with ongoing betterment in the Montrose area, SR 706 will see over 14 miles of new pavement this season – additional paving work not included as part of the ongoing project.

The district paving crew will tackle about 34 miles of road surface improvements, and continue with pothole patching and maintenance around the county.

There are 754 miles of state-owned roads in Susquehanna County; 54 Interstate miles; and 409 bridges.

Of the bridges, 115 have been categorized as being “structurally deficit,” May said. “That’s a lot of miles, a lot of bridges (PennDOT) is responsible for.”

May said the SR 706 betterment project is expected to be completed in October. The project has led to significant traffic tie-ups and construction delays in the Montrose – Bridgewater area. In addition to the paving, the roadway was widened and a turning lane established on the eastern portion of the project; drainage issues were addressed along Grow Avenue; curbing and the addition of a new traffic light “at the junction of routes 29 and 706, as well as a new light in Montrose borough, are also part of the ongoing project.

Currently, bridge projects are underway in several municipalities.
According to May, the Drinker Street bridge project in Susquehanna should be completed within the month.

Nearly $1 million is being spent on the Main Street bridge, SR 11, New Milford borough began last month and is expected to be completed by December.

May said the natural gas industry has a “huge impact” on the roads in the county but are not solely the cause of this year’s worsened conditions. The recent harsh winter also contributed to the large number of potholes and rough roads.

May said dramatic swings in temperature create the “perfect recipe” for making potholes.

Typically, there are about one or two of those during the winter but this year, May said, there were four or five times when the temperature dropped from about 50 degrees to the single digits in less than a day.

PennDOT meets with gas companies monthly to discuss road issues. The roads the industry trucks travel are posted and bonded, May said. He also said companies often repair roads “above and beyond what we ask them to do.”
To report road issues, call 1-800-FIX-ROAD; and for road and traffic information, visit www.511pa.com