PennDOT plans $281M in road repair projects for region

The $281 million, which Michael Rebert, District 5 executive said is on par with recent budgets, makes up projects that are getting underway, will be ongoing and are wrapping up this year.

PennDOT said it plans to pave about 366 miles of roads and replace or rehabilitate 64 bridges in the region.

“These roadway and bridge improvements are essential to keep the region attractive for businesses and providing efficient mobility for our customers” said Governor Tom Wolf in a press release. “These projects also aim to improve safety.”

One of the largest projects in this year’s budget is reconstruction work on Interstate 78 between Exit 35 in Lehigh County and Greenwich Township, Berks County. Preliminary work is now underway on the $168.3 million project, which will completely repave that stretch of road. Work will also add truck climb lanes – third lanes designed to help trucks accelerate up to speed to ease truck congestion in that area. Crews will also widen the inside and outside shoulders of the roadway to provide safer space for vehicles that have broken down and easier transit for emergency vehicles to get to accidents.

Another major project will be coming to a close, hopefully by the end of September, Rebert said.

Work is entering its final stages on the $64.7 million project along U.S. Route 22 at Fullerton Avenue Interchange: reconstruction and replacement of U.S. 22 bridges over Lehigh River in Lehigh County. When complete, the project is expected to ease traffic congestion in one of the busiest sections of roadway in the Lehigh Valley.

Another major project included on this list still has some ways to go.

The $21.9 million rehabilitation of the Tilghman Street Bridge over Lehigh River, Norfolk Southern Rail Road and local streets in the City of Allentown is expected to continue through the rest of 2019 and 2020 and into June of 2021.

In addition, PennDOT said regional county maintenance crews will resurface 32 miles of lower-traffic roads with recycled asphalt.

Rebert said this is the third or fourth year the district is using recycled asphalt to pave roads. He said the raw material is taken from mostly interstate reconstruction projects. The asphalt is then broken down and reconstituted and used on paving project on roads that generally get less than 5,000 vehicles a day and have less wear and tear than larger roads.

Rebert noted that recycling concrete is a great way to save resources and keep road construction waste out of landfills.

“It’s a great savings,” he said.

For a list of all of the notable projects that started or will continue this year CLICK HERE.

Stacy Wescoe
Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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