Guide rail replacement slated for troubled route

A series of crashes along the Port Matilda Highway/U.S. Route 322 has left guide rails along the route in need of repair.

A multivehicle crash Tuesday morning left guide rails damaged, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation spokeswoman Marla Fannin said. State police reported 11 vehicles were involved in seven separate crashes, closing the eastbound section of road for an hour.

A portion of the eastbound section of the route — between Black Moshannon Road and East Mountain Road — was closed early Monday as well after a tractor-trailer crash. The Hope Fire Company reported that a truck coming down the S-turns traveled through the guide rails and over the embankment.

A fuel leak was cleaned up after the crash, the fire company said.

A separate tractor-trailer crash in November also closed a portion of the route near Hannah Furnace Road after police said the vehicle was traveling too fast. The tractor and trailer both went over the guide rail on the right side of the road, and down an embankment about 50 feet.

The driver was able to walk to the side of the road, where a passerby picked him up and transported him to Lykens Market in Port Matilda to call EMS.

PennDOT expects the cleanup from Tuesday’s crash to be completed by Thursday, Fannin said. Guide rail replacement can’t begin until crash cleanup is complete.

“We would be looking to replace the damaged guide rail as soon as possible but that will be weather dependent,” she said. “As long as weather conditions allow, we hope to have the damaged guide rail replaced along the eastbound Port Mountain section by the end of the month.”

Until that time, traffic control measures will be in place to ensure a safe work environment for crews, she said.

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews