PennDOT Racing to Fix Damaged Roadways Before Winter
By Rick Hiduk
PennDOT has numerous recovery projects underway in Bradford, Sullivan, and Wyoming Counties, and District 3 and 4 administrators are taking bids on many more projects in the coming weeks in an attempt to bring roads and bridges compromised by a series of tropical systems over the past two months back to par.
District 3 community relations coordinator Rick Mason described efforts by PennDOT crews as “Herculean.”
“Our biggest challenge is to get as many of the flood-damaged sites repaired before winter as possible,” said Mason, who related that there are 1,600 locations in District 3 alone that will require significant repairs.
Among those projects is the rebuilding of washed out sections of Route 6 in North Towanda and Wysox Townships, as well as 850-feet of Route 414 in Monroe Township. Bids have been received by Dobrinski Brothers, Inc. for the Route 6 repairs and from New Enterprise Stone and Lime Co., Inc. for the work to be done on Route 414. Each of the aforementioned projects should be completed by mid-November, if not sooner. In the past few weeks, District 3 has executed contracts to address 66 damaged sites, 20 of which have already been completed.
The agency will advertise for emergency contracts to address more than 500 sites in October and November.
In addition to damaged bridges, recovery activities have included repairs to roadway and shoulder washouts, embankment repairs, pipe flushing, cleaning inlets and ditch cleaning.
“We just want to let people know that we are working as quickly and as diligently as we can,” said Mason, who noted that some of the damage being addressed was caused by Hurricane Irene, which coursed through the area prior to Tropical Storm Lee, and heavy isolated rains this past week that were associated with a low-pressure system that got stuck over the area.
Some key priorities for District 3 have included making all of Route 187 passable again. “In the coming weeks, we will be putting out bids to put in place two temporary bridges,” Mason explained. A bridge on Route 467 near Northeast Bradford High School that was opened after floodwaters receded but then closed again when it was found to be structurally damaged has been permanently repaired.
In Sullivan County, a temporary bridge has been installed on Nordmont Road (SR2002). By the end of the week, District 3 will open bids for a permanent replacement of the Route 487 bridge at Lopez that was knocked out by Irene.
Crews continue to make repairs to large sections of Routes 87 and 154 in Sullivan and Lycoming Counties. Mason announced that a Lycoming County crew has installed a temporary bridge on SR1006 at Proctor. He estimated that repairs in the nine counties served by PennDOT District 3 will top $40 million.
“Obviously, that is a huge impact on our budget which is why we are going after emergency funding to repair as much of the damage as possible.” State and federal legislators are lobbying on behalf of PennDOT to secure additional funding, he added.
According to PennDOT District 4 press officer James May, the greatest concern in Wyoming County continues to be the long-term closure of Route 309 in both directions between Hadsall Lane and Township Road due to a sinkhole.
Additional information about road closures and detours can be found online at www.511PA.com.