Traffic on North Atherton will be disrupted Saturday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday while the Penn State Office of Physical Plant crews remove a large, diseased elm tree.
OPP Communications Manager Alex Novak says that northbound lanes will be closed on North Atherton Street between West College Avenue and Curtin Road as a safety precaution.
Southbound lanes will remain open, and a short detour will be available to accommodate northbound traffic.
Novak says OPP crews will work to remove the elm and reopen lanes as quickly as possible. Though lanes are scheduled to be closed for 11 hours, Novak says “it’s unlikely the lanes will be closed that entire time.”
Ryan Harshbarger, the director of transportation with the Centre Area Transit Authority, says that “the majority of CATA’s bus routes are affected in some way” by Saturday’s lane closure. A detour will avoid the work area by traveling along Burrowes Street and the Curtin Road extension.
Harshbarger says this detour is relatively minor and will add little time to the routes affected, which include the B, HP, N, V, W, M, XB, XG and R routes.
Bus stop 284 on West College Avenue in front of the University Club and stop 285 on North Atherton Street near the Walker Building will remain closed until the North Atherton lanes are reopened. The nearby stops along Burrowes Street will remain open.
Novak says Dutch elm disease – an incurable fungal infection spread by insects – has been a cause for concern for Penn State for several years. The infection, along with Elm yellows disease, has led to a number of tree removals over the last several years.
“A tree with Dutch elm disease can still live for quite a while, but once it gets to a certain level of deterioration, it’s unsafe to leave it up,” he says.
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