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PennDOT Planning A Four-Year, Major Overhaul Of I-81 In Susquehanna County

SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY — PennDOT is gearing up for a major highway reconstruction project that will impact a nine mile stretch of Interstate 81. Both north an...

SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY -- PennDOT is gearing up for a major highway reconstruction project that will impact a nine mile stretch of Interstate 81.

Both north and south bounds lanes will be closed intermittently and traffic will be diverted during that work.

A stretch of Interstate 81 in Susquehanna County from the New Milford exit, exit 223, to the New York state line is expected to get a major overhaul in both the north and south bound directions.

A four-year PennDOT project to rebuild that nine-mile stretch of highway is set to start in the spring of 2021.

“So, 81 will be a full reconstruction, we`ll be replacing the pavement, replacing the bridges, the guide rail, the signing, the paint markings and barrier will be installed,” said Geoff Gribble with Borton Lawton Engineering.

At the Great Bend Hose Company, residents got a chance to look at plans drawn up by the engineering firm involved with project.

Work will be done in phases with only a few miles of I-81 being closed at a time.

When work is being done in the northbound lanes, all traffic will be diverted to the southbound lanes and vice versa.

“One lane in both directions in those cases where we`re going to have barrier separating opposing traffic,” said Gribble.

The residents who came to the meeting all live along 81 and had plenty of questions, concerns and input.

“Yeah, we just wanted to know what`s going on,” said Dale Henry from Hallstead. “I`m mean with the whole deal, when is it going to take effect and how many times they going to change it before it takes affect so we don`t, nobody really know much of anything right now.”

“I live close to that, how noisy is it going to be?” said Debbie Guy from Great Bend Township. “Am I going to be able to live there, my son lives in another house on the property, is he going to be able to live there?”

The project also includes closing off Susquehanna Street in New Milford Township at this overpass for 81 for two summers.

A six-mile detour will go around it but there are concerns about that too.

“They say six miles like it`s nothing but it`s a longways around,” said Scott Ferenczi, a New Milford Township Supervisor. “And those are back dirt roads and if there was ever a fire or an ambulance need, it`s going to be difficult to make it as quick as it used to.”

The price tag on the project is estimated to be $110 million.

PennDOT has no plans to hold another public meeting on this road work.

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