State College

With an influx of visitors, here’s what to expect on Centre County roads this weekend

PennDOT details what to expect with North Atherton construction this summer

PennDOT's Marc Maney gives an update on the North Atherton Street construction project on April 10, 2019.
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PennDOT's Marc Maney gives an update on the North Atherton Street construction project on April 10, 2019.

Long lines of traffic were already starting to back up on Atherton Street and Park Avenue on Friday, as people started arriving in town for Penn State’s spring commencement ceremonies.

Universitywide, 14,000 diplomas are set to be awarded this weekend at ceremonies across the state.

In State College, rooms at The Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center, Atherton Hotel and the Super 8 by Wyndham were all booked for the weekend, while rooms at other area hotels were going for up to $509 per night, according to Expedia.com.

Airbnb anticipated 1,900 guest arrivals to State College this week, an increase of 400 more than this time last year, according to spokesperson Liz DeBold Fusco. Of those 1,900 guests, 15% are families, and most are coming from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and New York City.

In anticipation of more people on the roads, the state Department of Transportation stopped construction and lifted traffic restrictions on several of its projects in and around Centre County this weekend. However, some long-term traffic restrictions were unable to be lifted.

Even with some help from PennDOT, it’s probably a safe bet to allow some extra time when traveling around State College this weekend.

Here’s what motorists can expect, according to PennDOT:

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Construction on the bridge over I-99 from North Atherton Street requires traffic to merge to one lane to Friday, May 3, 2019. Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com

Atherton Street

All lane restrictions will be lifted on Atherton Street, one of the main arteries through town to campus and the Bryce Jordan Center, through Sunday. Roadway reconstruction work between Mitchell and Hillcrest avenues will resume Monday. Traffic will then be reduced to one lane in each direction around the clock, including over the weekend. During that time, left turns will be restricted between 9 a.m and 3 p.m. to maintain traffic flow, and speeds will be reduced to 25 mph. This long-term traffic control is expected to remain in place until May 15, PennDOT said.

Interstate 99

The long-term left lane closure on Interstate 99 between the Bellefonte and Shiloh Road exits was removed early Friday morning. It is expected to be back in place by 6 a.m. Monday as work continues on the cable median barrier installation project.

There are not expected to be any other construction impacts on I-99 in Centre County this weekend, PennDOT said.

U.S. Route 322

People driving to Penn State from the Harrisburg area on U.S. Route 322 might run into some delays near Burnham in Mifflin County. The long-term lane restriction there cannot be lifted for graduation, PennDOT said.

“Depending on traffic volumes, delays can occur and drivers should build in about a half-hour of travel time heading toward State College,” District 2 spokesperson Marla Fannin said.

The long-term crossover from Decker Valley Road to Sand Mountain road in Potters Mills Gap will also remain in effect through September, PennDOT said, allowing for one lane of travel in each direction.

There will be no active work in Potters Mills Gap from 3 p.m. Friday until Monday. Next week, there will be no traffic stops on Route 322 from Monday though May 10. Flaggers will be on the roadway May 11, enforcing an alternating traffic pattern between Route 144 and Decker Valley Road. Flagging is scheduled between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. while crews install a concrete barrier.

As of noon Friday, there was still an eastbound lane restriction on Route 322 from the Port Matilda exit to the merge with I-99 in Patton Township, as crews continued to work. PennDOT said they were hoping to lift the restriction by the weekend.

Even with some breaks in construction, more people coming into town is likely to cause more congestion. Motorists can keep up to date with traffic conditions and delays by visiting www.511PA.com, following @511StateCollege on Twitter or calling 511.

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