Next to final phase of Perkiomen Avenue project underway

EXETER TWP., Pa. - Drivers who have been navigating their way through construction on Perkiomen Avenue can now see some light at the end of the tunnel.

PennDOT's contractor began the second to last phase of the reconstruction project on Thursday.

The new phase will involve a full-depth reconstruction of the road, from Neversink Road in Exeter Township west to the border with St. Lawrence, officials said. Crews will also be working on water lines, drainage, and traffic signals at 36th and 37th streets.

In the last year, the work has caused a few delays and shut down a few lanes, and some businesses said it's caused them to lose customers.

"It did affect maybe 10 or 15 percent," said Alex Ramirez, who owns the Alebrije Mexican Restaurant on Perkiomen Avenue.

Ramirez said the headaches are worth it to reach the end goal.

"Mostly, the whole of Perkiomen is going to be done by the end of the year," he said. "I'm waiting for it."

The new phase is expected to take between three and four months to complete, according to PennDOT. During that time, access will be maintained for business and property owners in the work zone.

The final stage, expected to take a month or two, will involve final paving along the entire project corridor, from the West Shore Bypass in Exeter Township to Glen Road in Reading.

Meantime, another stretch of Perkiomen Avenue in Mount Penn isn't seeing much relief just yet.

"We are limited here because the size of the roadway. We don't have that ability to probably create two [lanes]," said Chief Ray Serafin, Central Berks Regional Police Department.

The closures and traffic pattern changes have taken its toll on some businesses there, too.

"Lot of people think I'm closed," said David App, who owns the Sparkle Shine car wash in Mt. Penn.

There's hope, however. Officials said the traffic pattern in Mt. Penn allows crews to work faster. Repaving work there should take days instead of weeks.

"Everything will get done," App said. "We'll have better roads and a better community."

And while the road in Exeter Township has four lanes open, PennDOT said depending on workload, that could change from time to time.

The nearly $12-million project began in June 2018. It is expected to be completed in November.

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