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Road Improvements Offer Smoother, Safer Travels

by on December 08, 2013 10:00 AM

It was a long time coming but safety improvements on two sections of a busy Ferguson Township road are now complete.

Crews with PennDOT and Ferguson Township officially completed an improvement project for Whitehall Road late last month. Officials say the nearly $16 million project was undertaken to make the roadway safer for motorists and bicyclists.

"Over the past two construction seasons, PennDOT has worked to improve traffic movement and ease congestion through the Whitehall Road area," says Ben LaParne, assistant district executive for construction in PennDOT District 2. "Those improvements will have an impact on the lives of motorists, mass transit riders, bicyclists and pedestrians."

PennDOT spent $10.3 million on a three-mile project between Route 26 and Atherton Street included widening the roadway, adding a center left turn lane, adding marked bicycle lanes, installation of new traffic signals, drainage improvements, waterline relocation and paving.

HRI Inc. of State College was the contractor for the project.

Ferguson Township spent $5.5 million on a project between West College Avenue and Tadpole Road. After several months, construction detours were finally removed Nov. 22.

Work in that section of Whitehall Road included realigning a curve notorious for accidents, moving utility poles away from the roadway and widening lanes and shoulders to allow more room for bicyclists and agriculture vehicles.

Ferguson Township Public Works Director Dave Modricker says the road sees roughly 10,000 vehicles a day, so it was important to improve the quality of the roadway.

Modricker said local residents and commuters grew frustrated with the project toward the end. However, since completion he's received positive feedback on the improvements.

"I'm really happy to have seen it come to a conclusion. ... We've gotten a number of compliments from motorists and people who live on the road who are happy with it," Ferguson says. "The township appreciates everyone's patience during construction and I think everyone is now pleased with the product now that we're done."

PennDOT wants drivers to remember that bicyclists are also on the road. Specifically, PennDOT warns drivers to use caution, share the road with bicyclists and remain alert for bicyclists entering the roadway.

PennDOT also reminds drivers that state law requires drivers to leave at least four feet between a vehicle and a bicyclist when passing a bicyclist.

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Jennifer Miller is a reporter for StateCollege.com. She has worked in journalism since 2005. She's covered news at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on crime and local government. jenn.miller@statecollege.com
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