Although traffic has already been bad on U.S. Route 322 on the Seven Mountains, due to the Potters Mills Gap construction project, it's about to get worse.
Starting Wednesday, westbound traffic will make use of a crossover through the project area from Decker Valley Road to Sand Mountain Road in Potter Township, according to a release from the state Department of Transportation. That means there will be just one lane available for each direction of traffic, instead of the typical two lanes each direction. An 11-foot width restriction will also be in effect.
The lane restrictions will last through the fall.
PennDOT encourages commuters to add an extra 15-20 minutes of travel time to their schedules. As delays could fluctuate depending on a number of factors, PennDOT said it will display approximate travel times on message boards in the region.
The construction is part of the third and final phase of the Route 322/Potters Mills project, which will reconstruct Route 322 from Sand Mountain Road to Potters Mills with a four-lane extension, and build a Route 322/Route 144 intersection that will be a part of the local access road.
"The last phase of the project will promote safer travel, ease the congestion seen during high-traffic volumes, and make the movement of goods and services easier and more timely," PennDOT District Executive Karen Michael said in March. "We are thrilled to see this job get underway."
Work has been underway on the Potters Mills Gap project since 2015, when a new bridge was constructed at Sand Mountain Road during the first phase. The second phase, which wrapped up in January with the tree removal along the two-lane section of the highway, created the new Sand Mountain Road local interchange.
The goal of the project is to improve safety, reduce congestion and alleviate access issues along the section of Route 322 from near its intersection with state Route 144 to the Centre/Mifflin County line.
Up-to-date information on each phase of the project, including detours and delays, can be found at at PennDOT's interactive website. Real-time updates on detours and delays can also be found at www.511PA.com, or by following @511PAStateColl on Twitter or by calling 511.