MONROE COUNTY, Pa. - Relief is in sight for drivers who travel a busy stretch of roadway in the Poconos that needs some work. PennDOT plans to widen a portion of Interstate 80.
"The project is going to be from just east of the Bartonsville interchange, which is exit 302 on Interstate 80, to exit 308, which is the East Stroudsburg exit," explained PennDOT spokesperson Ron Young. He said the project is about six miles and will cost about $215 million.
"If anyone's driven that section of Interstate 80, it's a very busy stretch of roadway, it has a lot of truck traffic, it's narrow, it's a bit windy," said Young, who also said there are frequent tractor trailer accidents.
The project is in the early design stage, so it will be years until drivers see a finished project. Drivers were happy to hear about the plan, though.
"80's a little tight, having four lanes, sometimes you feel restricted, especially in the bad weather," said Aaron Fuhrman.
"Sometimes it becomes like a parking lot," said Peter Sharpe. "I think it's an excellent idea."
"It gets backed up a lot over here and it's frustrating, especially coming from Bartonsville into town here," said Rachel Byrne. "Anything merging-wise, people stop, lot of fender benders, lot of traffic, it's nerve-racking so more lanes will help."
Young said about 80,000 cars and trucks travel the roadway each day.
"It's outlived its design life and we had always wanted to do something up there but the money was just not available," he said.
The money is now there thanks to the transportation funding bill Governor Tom Corbett signed in November.
Fuhrman said, "I definitely think widening the lanes will be beneficial although I do know for a lot of people commuting getting to work, the construction time is going to be awful."
While it's years away, Young said when construction does start, crews will do their best to keep traffic moving, at least during peak hours.
Allentown, PA 18102