Although its condition is often a subject for criticism, area drivers may also soon be criticizing the delays that are expected to result from a $15 to $16 million (estimated) project involving the milling, patching and resurfacing of parts of I-78 in Lehigh and Northampton counties.
PennDOT officials Monday announced that the project to repair the 33-year-old highway will begin this year and will take place in Upper Saucon Township in Lehigh County and Lower Saucon Township and the City of Bethlehem in Northampton County. That stretch of I-78 is just west of the Rt. 412 exit in Hellertown.
No start date was provided, but the project was one of about a dozen “notable project” PennDOT’s Engineering District 5-0 listed in a news release about major investment in construction that will be taking place in a six-county region within east central Pennsylvania. The six counties that comprise the district are Northampton, Lehigh, Berks, Schuylkill, Carbon and Monroe counties.
“Investing in our transportation system is essential for this region’s economy,” said District 5 Executive Mike Rebert in the release. “And these projects are vital investments in east central Pennsylvania.”
Also listed among the $700 million in projects–some of which are already under way–were:
- Reconstruction of I-78 between Exit 35 (Lenhartsville) and the Lehigh County line in Greenwich Township, Berks County, $172.9 million
- Milling and paving of Rt. 145/MacArthur Road in Whitehall Township, Lehigh County, $6.2 million
- Milling and paving of Rt. 33 in Hamilton and Ross Townships, Monroe County, and Plainfield Township, Northampton County, $9.49 million
- Milling and paving of Rt. 22 in Wilson Borough, and Bethlehem and Palmer townships and Rt. 33 in Bethlehem and Palmer townships, Northampton County, $16 million
- Milling, patching, paving, bridge repairs and drainage improvements on I-78 in City of Allentown, and Salisbury and Upper Saucon Townships, Lehigh County, $18 – $19 million (estimate)
- Traffic signal improvements on Rt. 29 (Cedar Crest Boulevard) in Salisbury Township, Lehigh County, $3.27 million
- Milling, paving and traffic signal upgrades on Linden Street in City of Bethlehem and Bethlehem Township, Northampton County, $4 to $5 million (estimate)
In the news release, officials said motorists should “anticipate seeing many work zones” keep safety in mind when traveling through them.
“When encountering a work zone, please drive the posted speed limit, turn on your headlights, pay close attention to signs and flaggers and avoid all distractions,” the release said. “In high traffic locations, motorists are encouraged to use both lanes of travel to the merge point and to take turns merging into the open lane.”
Altogether the road and bridge work that is currently under way or about to begin in the six-county area will cost around $700 million, officials said.
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