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PennDOT: Road projects in central Pennsylvania reduce traffic

This week, PennDOT released a study saying the new thruway in central PA has reduced traffic in both Lewisburg and Northumberland.

NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. — Heavy traffic has been a concern in parts of Union and Northumberland Counties for decades. Over the last five years, several PennDOT projects were designed to alleviate the congestion.

The borough of Northumberland saw a lot of that traffic on Route 405.

"They shut us down completely for six months here. You could only go out of town. You couldn't go in town. Water Street and this stretch of Duke Street were closed, so you couldn't get here for six months," said business owner Jay Seidel.

According to PennDOT, now that two of those projects have finished, fewer vehicles are traveling through Lewisburg and Northumberland.

The northern section of the Central Susquehanna Valley Transportation Project opened in July. A four-month traffic study by PennDOT shows vehicle counts on Routes 15 and 405 are significantly lower.

"We've noticed that the congestion over rush hour is significantly less, and people are willing to come back to Northumberland again during rush hour," Seidel said.

On Route 405 in Northumberland, the study shows truck traffic decreased by about 75 percent. That's good news for Amato's Pizza, as customers had a hard time getting in and out of the parking lot.

"Now that it's opened, it's a steady flow through here that people can get in and out of the restaurant a lot easier," Jennifer Markley said.

"Before was a little crowded, yes, a lot of people in town. Now, they just go that way on (Route) 15. We'll take it," said owner Aurelio Amato.

According to PennDOT, daily traffic volume on Route 15 near Lewisburg fell by about 30 percent.

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