For the past three years, vehicles have maneuvered over rough roads, weaved through construction cones and single lanes of stop-and-go traffic daily on PA 611. Many locals opt to avoid the traffic by driving the long and winding back roads.
“This year they will remove PA-611 southbound down to the base (dirt), grade the base, install sub-base and pavement base and then pave the binder paving course,” said Ronald Young, District Press Officer for PennDOT. “They will also complete the intersection realignment work and new traffic signals at PA-611 and Brookdale Road.”
The road reconstruction project was designed to improve safety and traffic flow for the 25,331 vehicles traveling this section of 611 every day.
“After so many requests by residents and businesses, they are finally putting up the traffic light at Brookdale Road and 611,” said Gerald Lastowski, commissioner of Pocono Township. “There have been several accidents and fatalities at that dangerous intersection.”
According to Young, the northbound lanes have been reconstructed up to the binder paving course, and all of the structure work for the northbound phase is completed.
“Cars that were going north at one point couldn’t turn into businesses on the south side; needless to say that hurt them,” said Lastowski. “Even now that they can, it is a dangerous situation.”
The stretch of 611 from Scotrun to Swiftwater is a $12.34 million project, being completed by Leeward Construction Inc. of Honesdale and is expected to be finished by October this year.
“We are so hoping that PennDOT stays on schedule for the 611 project,” said Lastowski. “Construction has hurt a lot of businesses in that little corridor between Scotrun and Swiftwater.”
Young said they will perform the final phase of work on the two box culverts which includes installing a waterproof membrane on the structures and minor concrete repairs.
Also in the works, they are set to complete the concrete curb islands at several businesses, perform some minor drainage work and update guide rails throughout the corridor.
“Businesses have told me their businesses have been off with losses of 30-35% because of construction,” said Lastowski. “They are just trying to survive until the highway construction is finished.”
Lastowski said he’s met with Senator Mario Scavello (R-40) and everyone else he can think of to do what they can to put pressure on PennDOT to get the project finished. He claims this also impacts emergency vehicle response times.
“For years, they were just putting down overlays that would be ridden with potholes again and then re-patched every winter,” said Lastowski. “This time, they are doing a total restoration, ripping up the entire road and putting in a new base. Hopefully it will last a long time.”
The final paving, on both 611 northbound and southbound, will occur at the end of the project, likely in September, with final pavement markings completed in or before October, said Young. Then there will be a final inspection of the work.
PennDOT estimates that it will be completed by October this year.
“Once it is finished, it will still only be a three-lane highway, with the middle lane being a turning lane in that corridor,” said Lastowski. “It’s not going to do anything to alleviate traffic, in my opinion.”