PennDOT prepares for start of project to improve Interstate 176

Published: Aug 19 2012 08:00:00 PM EDT   Updated On: Aug 20 2012 06:29:45 PM EDT
PennDOT prepares for start of 2-year highway project
CUMRU TWP., Pa. -

Traffic troubles are just up the road for local drivers.

PennDOT is starting a $14.7 million project on Interstate 176 in Cumru Twp., Berks Co. Drivers should be prepared for 16 months of lane restrictions and delays, said officials.

Crews spent Monday setting up signs, staging equipment and installing erosion and sedimentation controls. The two-year improvement project will happen between the exits for Routes 422 and 724.

"I just got a new car and I can feel the bumps. It needs it, and there's so much traffic," said Lois Vanderlip, who often travels on the interstate.

According to PennDOT, nearly 21,000 vehicles travel that section of 176 daily, and delays are expected. The road work is set to start August 28, which will cause short-term lane restrictions on both sides of the interstate, said officials.

The improvements include reconstructing existing travel lanes on 176, constructing an additional lane in each direction for ramp traffic between the 422 and 724 interchanges, partial reconstruction of the interchange ramps at Route 422 and building three new bridges.

"One over 422, one over the Norfolk Southern railroad and one over the Thun Trail," said Ron Young, the district press officer for PennDOT.

The work between the half-mile stretch will happen mostly during the day, and it's expected to be completed by December 2014, said Young.

"I'm going to have to go out of my way to do my daily travels," said Judy Spracklin, who drives on 176 every day. "It's going to make my life a little more difficult."

A separate project on 724 is expected to add a one-two punch. The Reading Area Water Authority is replacing a water main starting next week between Route 10 and the 176 interchange. Traffic is set to be detoured through 176.

"It's going to be a lot of delays. Not looking forward to that," said Vanderlip.

PennDOT has cameras placed at both ends of Interstate 176. They transmit real-time images to WFMZ.com.