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PennDOT to Begin Safety Project for I-80 Bellefonte Exit

by on May 15, 2019 10:19 AM

It will be years before the I-80/I-99 high-speed interchange project is completed, and in the meantime PennDOT is embarking on work to enhance safety at the I-80 Bellefonte exit.

On Thursday, the passing lane of I-80 westbound at exit 161 will be closed while crews mill and pave the shoulder. That work is expected to take one day and upon completion crews will begin extending and paving the westbound off-ramp. The start date for the off-ramp work is still to be announced.

In addition to extending the off-ramp to allow for more vehicles coming off I-80, the embankment south of the intersection will be excavated to improve sight distances. A temporary traffic signal installed last year will be replaced by a traffic signal with queue detection.

The $929,000 project, which is expected to be completed by mid-August, also includes installation of new signage and guide rails and pavement marking.

This work is not part of the high-speed interchange project, which is slated to begin next year with a new local access road to Route 26. Improvements to Jacksonville Road to handle increased local traffic will begin in 2022, and, finally, work on the high-speed interchange between I-80 and I-99 is expected to be completed in late 2025.

Potters Mills Gap Project

Elsewhere in Centre County, drivers should expect traffic stops next week at the Potters Mills Gap project on U.S. Route 322.

Traffic stops of up to 15 minutes will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22, and Thursday, May 23, between Route 144 and Decker Valley Road for slope excavation work. The traffic stops were originally planned for this week but were postponed.

One mile east of Potters Mills, a crossover between Decker Valley Road and Sand Mountain Road, with one lane available in each direction, will remain in place through September. Within the crossover is a 14-foot width restriction for westbound traffic and a 15-foot width restriction for eastbound traffic.

Work also will continue off the road and drivers should be alert for construction vehicles entering and exiting through the Potters Mills area. Short-term blasting operations also may take place, requiring brief, intermittent traffic stops.

The current work is part of phase three of the Potters Mills Gap project, which began in 2015. Phase three will reconstruct Route 322 from Sand Mountain Road to Potters Mills, including a new Route 322/Route 144 intersection that will be a part of the local access road. PennDOT expects the new road to be open in October 2020.

Phase one included construction of the new bridge at Sand Mountain Road and phase two created the new interchange for Route 322 and Sand Mountain Road.

The completed project is expected to alleviate congestion and allow traffic to move more safely and efficiently from the Centre-Mifflin County line to Potters Mills.

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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