Travel delays expected for Penn State football fans
More than 100,000 people will head into State College this weekend for Penn State football’s season opener against Appalachian State on Saturday.
That, combined with construction and Labor Day holiday traffic, could be a recipe for a lot of road congestion coming into Centre County.
The state Department of Transportation, in a release on Wednesday, alerted drivers of potential travel delays on their way to Beaver Stadium.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission also advised motorists of travel delays this weekend, due to holiday travel. The commission expects 3.5 million vehicles to hit the turnpike this weekend, with Friday afternoon being the worst time for traffic.
As for gameday on Saturday, the turnpike commission expects 510,000 vehicles. In anticipation of heavier than usual traffic, all turnpike construction has been suspended.
With multiple ongoing construction projects underway in town, State College police are advising motorists to avoid driving to the stadium on North Atherton Street, and to instead access the yellow parking lots from the east — either via U.S. Route 322 or the Park Avenue exit off Interstate 99.
Directions for the best options for travel to specific parking lots can be found on the back of the Penn State football parking permits, police said.
Police also encourage people to use the downtown parking garages and the Fullington and CATA football shuttles to reduce the amount of vehicles driving to the stadium.
Here are some traffic delays PennDOT says travelers can expect:
In State College
Travel restrictions will remain in place on North Atherton Street over Labor Day weekend, as construction continues. Two lanes will be open for traffic in each direction from North Hills Place to Cherry Lane. The center lane will remain closed and no left turns will be allowed. Backups are expected.
From the Harrisburg area
Visitors taking Route 322 from Harrisburg or the Philadelphia area could experience slow-moving traffic and delays coming over the Seven Mountains, with the ongoing Potters Mills Gap construction. There is a crossover from Decker Valley Road to Sand Mountain Road, with one lane available in each direction. This area, about a mile east of the village of Potters Mills, also features a 13-foot width restriction.
Those coming from Harrisburg will also run into a 6-mile lane restriction on Route 283 in Dauphin County, between the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Route 341.
From the Altoona area
Overnight paving work on Interstate 99 near the Waddle Road exit between Patton and College townships is on a hiatus until Tuesday and should and not affect travel to the stadium. However, there is plenty of additional I-99 construction.
For those traveling from the Altoona area, there is a potential for lane closures from the 17th Street to the Pinecroft exit, and from Bellwood to Tipton. Both work zones have 16-foot width restrictions and are expected to be in place until Nov. 8.
There is also a potential for lane closures at the Tyrone bridge with a 14-foot width restriction. Speed is reduced to 55 mph in both of these work zones.
From the Williamsport area
Travelers coming into Centre County from the northeast will encounter a new traffic light at the end of the Interstate 80 westbound off-ramp at the Bellefonte exit. The signal was put in to help alleviate congestion and backups on the interstate.
There will be lane restrictions, one lane in each direction, on Route 15 at Winifield in Union County, along with a 14-foot width restriction.
Real-time updates on traffic and road conditions across the state can be found at www.511PA.com, by calling 511 or through the 511PA smartphone app. Regional updates are posted via @511PAStateColl on Twitter.