Lehigh Valley

What's the deal with Route 309 construction in South Whitehall?

Some drivers complain PennDOT's work on 3-mile stretch is taking too long

What's the deal with Route 309 construction in S. Whitehall

SOUTH WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. - It's one of the busiest highways in the Lehigh Valley, but Route 309 near Route 22 has been a mess for months.  Some drivers are wondering, where are all the construction crews?

Motorists have plenty to say about the drive.

"The roads are really bumpy," said Selma Pjetrovic of Slatington, Lehigh County.

"Rough," added Jerry DeFazio of Orefield, Lehigh County. "Very rough."

It's been that way since April. The roughly three-mile stretch between Interstate 78 and Chapmans Road in South Whitehall Township, Lehigh County, is completely stripped.

"I don't know [what crews are doing]," said Pjetrovic. "Your guess is as good as mine."

Many drivers said it appears crews aren't doing any work at all.

"I've never seen any workers out there," said Yusuf Sabri of Orefield.

PennDOT spokesman Sean Brown said he's heard from plenty of people.

"We get a lot of calls from the motorists," he said. "They do ask us."

Brown said crews are, in fact, working -- just late at night.

"We have our workers out there every night -- weekday nights. They're out there," he said. "So, they're overnight hours when they can restrict lanes."

Crews are surfacing the road, he said.

"Shouldn't take that long.  It shouldn't," said a frustrated Pjetrovic. "They had how long to do it?"

According to Brown, the project is taking so long because workers are having to rebuild the entire concrete road bed. He said the state chose to limit the work to overnight hours to avoid lane closures during the day.  It's a decision getting mixed reviews from drivers.

"Closing a lane now, on top of Cedar Crest being closed, I don't think that would be a good idea," said DeFazio.

Others disagree.

"I think most people would want their road repaved, and have that inconvenience now, rather than running the risk of getting a flat tire or any damage to their car," said Sabri.

If you're already fuming about this project, hold onto your steering wheel.  According to PennDOT, it  won't be finished until November -- just in time for winter pothole season.

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