Motorists driving over the Seven Mountains on U.S. Route 322 can expect more congestion as overnight work is set to start on the Potters Mills Gap project on Sunday.
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation crews will be performing drainage work and cross-pipe installation between the intersection at Potters Mills and Red Mill Road/Mountain Back Road through at least Friday, according to a release.
An alternating traffic pattern controlled by flaggers will be in effect from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m., and PennDOT is encouraging motorists to build an extra 15-20 minutes into their commute.
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The drainage work is part of the third and final phase of the Route 322/Potters Mills Gap project, which will reconstruct the highway from Sand Mountain Road to Potters Mills with a four-lane extension, and build a new intersection with Route 144 that will be a part of the new local access road.
Although the drainage work is scheduled to be done at night in order to alleviate traffic congestion, construction manager Greg Sidorick told the Centre Daily Times in May that most of the work on the road itself will continue during the day, due to the dangers associated with moving equipment around at night on the tight, steep portion of the work zone.
Sidorick said construction crews will not be stopping traffic during major local events, such as the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts July 12-15, and Penn State student move-in and home football games during the fall.
The project, which is meant to improve safety and reduce congestion, started in 2015 with the construction of a new bridge at Sand Mountain Road. Phase two, 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.
Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc, of State College, was awarded the $82,374,064 bid for the final phase in March. The project is estimated to be completed by October 2021, Sidorick said.
Up-to-date information on 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.