Major delays expected as Potters Mills Gap project continues
The Route 322/Potters Mills Gap Project is running on schedule, but drivers should expect major delays this month, state Department of Transportation representatives said in a Wednesday update.
The delays start Thursday, with 15-minute stops in each direction on U.S. Route 322 between state Route 144 and Decker Valley Road for slope excavation.
And it gets worse.
“For the next two weeks, starting Monday the 17th, we will have some major delays on the project as utility work takes place and we have to flag traffic and alternate directions of traffic,” Marla Fannin, PennDOT community relations coordinator, said.
Fannin estimates these delays could last between one and two hours.
“We certainly hope those delays are minimal,” Fannin said. “But we fully expect that a driver could encounter delays from the top of Seven Mountains coming through the project anywhere from an hour to two hours, depending on the volume of traffic, the time of day and the work that needs to be done, and how efficiently we’re able to flag that traffic in the area.”
An estimated 17,000 vehicles travel through the project area each day. While it is not ideal to have such significant delays, Fannin said safety of construction workers and drivers is a top priority.
“Anytime we detour traffic or restrict traffic, we are doing that in the interest of public safety,” Fannin said. “It is not the best situation for us to try and do excavation without stopping traffic.”
This month’s utility work was planned with the start of summer vacation in mind.
Flagging will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day and is scheduled through June 28.
Fannin encourages drivers to use 511PA and check the project’s website for updates. PennDOT message boards will display delay updates and estimated delay times, so drivers can consider alternate routes. If flagging runs longer than planned, PennDOT will update drivers by using social media and signage on roadways.
The overall project running on schedule and is 40% complete, project manager Greg Sidorick said.
Now, the project is in the process of phasing out excavation work and is moving into structural work — phase three of the overall construction project. In this final phase, work is being done to reconstruct Route 322 from Sand Mountain Road to Potters Mills, which includes the creation of a new Route 322/Route 144 intersection.
Keeping public safety in mind, Sidorick said the completed project will result in a safer and less congested roadway.
Brent Lykens, construction and traffic control contact person, said traffic will be rerouted to a newly constructed Route 322 by the end of 2020.
With the project running according to plan, it is scheduled to be completed in 2020.