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Relief from Atherton Street construction is coming. How long will it last and what’s next?

Motorists will get a break from North Atherton Street construction

Marc Maney, the project inspector for PennDOT, talks about the North Atherton Street construction on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. This video was provided by WTAJ, through a partnership with the Centre Daily Times for daily news content.
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Marc Maney, the project inspector for PennDOT, talks about the North Atherton Street construction on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. This video was provided by WTAJ, through a partnership with the Centre Daily Times for daily news content.

A winter shutdown looms for the North Atherton Street construction project, offering motorists a reprieve from the snarl of stop-and-go traffic that plagues the high-volume business route into and away from downtown State College.

Crews contracted by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will be working for the next two weeks to finish up utility relocation for State College Borough Water Authority and University Area Joint Authority between West Aaron Drive and Park Avenue, Mark Maney, the project inspector for PennDOT, told members of the media Tuesday.

“We were able to install new sewer in this area, new water line, new drainage, new curb, new sidewalk,” he said.

If everything stays on track, SCBWA and UAJA’s water lines should be completed in two weeks but could be delayed until March 2019, while West Penn Power Company, Verizon and Verizon Underground lines should be finished by March 2019.

The winter shutdown will run from early January to early March 2019. Weather permitting, said Maney, one or two crews might work until the second week of January to put in curbing, sidewalks and retaining walls.

Project ‘ahead of schedule’

“At this point, we’re happy to say that we’re actually ahead of schedule,” Maney said. Some of the work that was scheduled to begin next year is already being done this year, he said.

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Construction will continue on North Atherton Street for about two more weeks until the winter shutdown. Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com

Once work on the project begins again in early March, PennDOT and Glenn O. Hawbaker will be focusing mostly on the box culvert at Big Hollow Run and paving North Atherton Street. Penn State spring commencement weekend, May 3-5, 2019, will be free of North Atherton Street project-related delays.

Here is a projected timeline of work in 2019:

  • In early March, installation of a portion of the sewer line for State College Borough Public Works
  • From March 27-April 7, installation of the Big Hollow Culvert. North Atherton Street will be restricted to one lane in both directions “due to the depths of the excavation.”
  • From March-early May, work from Big Hollow Run to Hillcrest Avenue on the left side of the roadway, installation of new curb and new sidewalk
  • From April-June, completion of curbs, sidewalks and signals from Big Hollow Run to Hillcrest Avenue
  • From April-May, start paving the roadway at West Aaron Drive down toward Blue Course Drive
  • From May 6-May 23, reconstruction of the entire width of the roadway from West Mitchell Avenue to Hillcrest Avenue. North Atherton Street will be restricted to one lane in both directions. “Currently the profile of the road doesn’t meet current design standards, so we want to update that,” Maney said.
  • From June-August, paving of Big Hollow Run to Park Avenue and other work on that stretch of roadway
  • From August-October, signal updates, line painting and curb and sidewalk work

Getting a jump on 2020

The projected end date for the North Atherton Street project is Oct. 18, 2019. “Since we’re ahead of schedule right now, we feel really good that we’re gonna meet that deadline,” Maney said.

But there may be one thing that pushes the date back slightly.

The next phase of work on Atherton Street is slated to begin in 2020, and will take place between Park Avenue and Westerly Parkway. PennDOT crews may do advance work on that project in 2019, said Maney, in order to “minimize the impact that we have at the Park Avenue intersection” in 2020 and avoid putting in a temporary signal there for a second time.

Though the Park Avenue to Westerly Parkway project is a two-year project, Maney said, “it’d be a real nice goal for us if we could get that job completed in one year.”

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