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Delays coming to an end at Potters Mills Gap

by on February 06, 2020 10:39 AM

POTTERS MILLS — For drivers who have long been suffering through traffic delays due to the large Potters Mills Gap construction project, there will be two more days of delays on Feb.18 and 20, as crews set beams for a bridge. But, with the project 65 to 70 percent complete after the beams are set, that should be the last of the foreseen traffic stoppages before the new road is opened in the fall.

PennDOT construction manager Greg Sidorick recently gave an update on the project and said things remain on time.

The beams for the other spans will be transported via a PennDOT service road and will not cause any traffic stoppage. That work is expected to be completed on Feb. 24, 26 and 28 and end on March 2.

“Not until we switch traffic over, we will have trucks coming out and onto the highway, but other than that, that is it,” Sidorick said of the delays.

Once completed and opened in the fall, the new four-lane road will bypass the intersection of Routes 144 and 322, eliminating one of the scariest driving areas in Centre County. Sitting at the stop sign on 144 and trying to enter 322 as traffic is coming down from Seven Mountains full bore can be a white-knuckle experience, especially when turning left.

Sometimes, after Penn State football games, for example, there can be a seemingly endless stream of cars coming out of State College looking to turn onto Route 322 while tractor trailers and other vehicles are speeding down the mountain.

The new bypass is meant to help by keeping the heavy traffic coming out of State College and coming down the mountain away from the intersection and on the new, four-lane road.

Drivers will be able to access Decker Valley and Sand Mountain roads by exiting the bypass to the local route, making trips to those areas safer.

“It is going to improve safety and improve mobility, because if we ever had to shut down the road in the past, pretty much everything shut down. With the large volume of 16,000 to 18,000 vehicles going through this corridor (daily), you can imagine that if you had to shut the road down, there will be a long detour for people to go around,” said PennDOT engineer Steve Fantechi, assistant district executive for construction.

The bypass will head past the intersection and join the old road near Cole Transportation.

PennDOT encourages driver to watch for projects updates on the department’s webpage or follow it on Twitter.


Vincent Corso is writer for Town&Gown and the Centre County Gazette.
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