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PennDOT Plans Route 6 Changes Near Claverack

If you've driven east on the Wysox Narrows toward Wyalusing, you'll agree that the two-lane passing area has what might be rightly regarded as a fatal flaw. It is where the passing zone comes to an end and suddenly brake lights are flashing as the road turns into a sharp curve with limited visibility. At the other side of the curve, just before you get to Claverack, is a dip and intersection (Goff Road)—another potential danger spot with little time to react for vehicles pulling onto Rt. 6.

PENNDOT plans to do something about both the curve and the dip on the other side with a construction project slated for the spring of 2006. The down side of this recent announcement is that there will be detours—probably all that summer—with the recommended one between Wyalusing and Wysox being Rt. 187. That will be the official detour, but local drivers, as they did 10 years ago when the Narrows became the Wides, will be finding their own ways around it, including Keene Summit Road and River Road, which loops from Rummerfield through Standing Stone and back up to the top side of the Wides.

"We will try to keep that road open as much as possible," said Randy Webster, PENNDOT's Project Engineer, "but there will be times when we will have to close it on the Wysox end."

The project, whose $3 million price tag is being picked up by the feds (80 percent) and the state (20), will take some of the curve out, but not a lot. Most of the improvements will be in creating better sight lines.

"We'll be improving the humps and dips," Webster explained, of the section of two-lane roadway that offers such a startling contrast to the wide-open Wides.

The road upgrade will continue for almost a mile and a half—from the end of the Wides right through the end of the next passing zone and another four-way intersection with limited visibility. That's where two dirt roads—Tracy Road and Chuck's Road—intersect with Rt. 6. In fact, the visibility is so poor for westbound traffic that left turns are forbidden there onto Tracy Road.

"There are too many accidents in that area, and this will make it safer for everyone without radically altering the roadway," Webster told The Rocket-Courier last week. In a four-year span, from 1997 through the end of 2001, PENNDOT says there were 31 reportable motor vehicle accidents in that section of Rt. 6, and almost two thirds of them involved damage from leaving the road, not colliding with other vehicles.

Aside from the humps and dips, the most radical change will be the width of the road and shoulders. The lanes, now 11 feet, will be widened to 12, and the paved shoulders, or berms, will be widened about a foot on each side to five feet. That improves the margin of error. And just in case you don't know you are leaving the road, there will be rumble strips between the highway and the shoulders.

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