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PennDOT Awards Bid for $259M High-Speed Interchange in Centre County; Construction to Begin This Summer

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has awarded the construction bid for the long-awaited high-speed interchange between Interstates 80 and 99 in Centre County.

Trumbull Corporation of Pittsburgh was the apparent low bidder at $259 million, according to a PennDOT news release on Friday.

PennDOT expects to issue notice to proceed in July and work will occur over the next six construction seasons, ending in 2030.

“This is an exciting day for PennDOT, Centre County and all of the stakeholders involved with this project,” PennDOT District 2 Executive Thomas Prestash said in a news release. “This construction will greatly benefit our region by enhancing safety for motorists and making it more convenient to haul freight in and out of the area.”

The direct connection between I-80 and I-99 via high-speed ramps will be constructed in Boggs, Spring and Marion townships in the area of the current Bellefonte I-80 exit. Once completed, it will eliminate the need to travel along Route 26 to access either highway, remove stop-controlled intersections and realign service to local traffic.

Approximately $170 million of the funding for the $259 million project comes from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed in 2021.

“This project was identified as a major need for this community many, many years ago, and it’s very gratifying to see it come to fruition,” Prestash said earlier this year. “Once completed it will enhance safety for motorists, provide local access connections to Route 26 and will have a significant impact on economic development.”

The interchange is the second and largest phase of a three-phase project.

PennDOT expects to open bids in two weeks for the third phase, which will reconstruct and widen Route 26/Jacksonville Road from the I-80 Bellefonte exit to Shay Lane in Marion Township. Work on that phase, which is projected to cost $6.9 million will begin this year and continue into the 2026 season.

After Pennsylvania received a $35 million federal grant for the interchange project in 2018, work began in 2020 on the first $52 million first phase to create a new local access interchange about 2 miles east of the I-80 Bellefonte exit. The new exit 163, completed in 2022, provides access for local traffic to Jacksonville Road, which will no longer be available from the current Bellefonte exit once the high-speed interchange is complete.