The long dreamed about I-99/I-80 high-speed interchange project is finally underway as crews started work on the first phase on Monday.
The first step of the project is to begin erosion control efforts in preparation for a new local interchange for I-80 and Route 26. That new interchange will be constructed two miles to the east of the current interchange and will include an access road that will cut to the north to Route 26 (Jacksonville Road).
The local interchange project is just the first in a three-phase project that not only includes the high-speed interchange connection, but also improvements on Jacksonville Road as well as erosion control measures. An initial $35 million for the project was announced in July 2018, coming through a federal Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant. Completion of all three phases will support regional freight economy and improve the reliability of roadway travel throughout the region.
On July 17, crews placed work zone and traffic control signs between the I-80/161 exit and Jacksonville Road and work began July 27.
According to PennDOT, preliminary work will include erosion and sedimentation control as well as construction of emergency pull-offs. As work continues, drivers may encounter lane and shoulder restrictions.
Phase two of the project will consist of improvements to Jacksonville Road between I-80 and the new interchange to prepare for the higher rates of local traffic once the interchange is complete. It will feature 11-foot travel lanes and 4-foot shoulders. The cost estimate for phase two is $4.4 million and it is scheduled to go out for bid March 3, 2022.
Phase three is the construction of the high speed interchange between I-99 and I-80 that will provide a direct connection between the two roadways via high speed ramps, thus eliminating the need to travel along Route 26 to access either highway. The stop-controlled intersections will be eliminated with the project and realigned to service local traffic. Cost estimate for phase three is $135 million and it is also scheduled to go out to bid March 3, 2022
Phase one work is being completed by HRI Inc. of State College. The estimated cost of phase one is $52 million. Up-to-date information can be found on the project page at www.penndot.gov/SR26Localinterchange. This phase is expected to take one and a half years to complete.