While some roadwork projects in the Poconos wrap up, others continue. Here’s a roundup of what’s open, what’s under construction, and what’s to come.
PA-191 Stites Tunnel is open
The new PA 191 "Stites Tunnel" Bridge over Paradise Creek in Pocono Township, Monroe County has opened to traffic. It had been closed and detoured between PA 447 and Stites Mountain Road since January 2019.
According to Sean Brown, PennDOT Press Officer, motorists should expect sporadic daytime (9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.) flagging operations as they finish up concrete work, paving and guide rails over the next few weeks until project completion.
H&K Group, Inc.of Skippack, PA is the general contractor on the $8,087,885 project that included replacing the PA 191 Bridge over Paradise Creek and bridge roadway approach structures, installing new guide rail and line paint, and concrete repairs to the roadway tunnel under the Delaware Lackawanna Railroad.
The new concrete box culvert is 345 feet long, 33 feet wide and has no restrictions. It replaced an old steel girder bridge that was originally constructed in 1911 and then reconstructed in 1941 with a 9-ton weight restriction. This section of PA-191 has an average daily traffic volume of 5,147 vehicles.
PA-611 in Scotrun and Swiftwater
The stretch of PA-611 from Scotrun to Swiftwater is a $13.2 million project that has been under construction since March 2017. According to PennDOT, the purpose was to improve safety and traffic flow for over 25,331 vehicles that traveled this section daily and had an October completion date estimated.
"The project is ahead of schedule despite encountering some soil issues that have already been addressed and working through additional interchange changes," said Senator Mario Scavello. "There is some more base paving and guard rails needed, but I think that weather-permitting, they’ll be done by Labor Day weekend."
I80 Expansion Projects in Monroe County
The I-80 Reconstruction Project got past a traffic study and is under the "Design Engineering Phase." This is the three mile stretch running between Stroudsburg Borough Exit 307 to Stroud Township Exit 302.
According to Brown, the design work has been ongoing since the public meeting last fall. The next phases of this project would be the Right-of-way Acquisition and then Final Engineering.
"Our current schedule estimates the bidding process to start in Fall of 2022," said Brown. "This is a very large and complex project and we already have money allocated for it."
The I-80 Reconstruction Project will increase the highway to six lanes, with three lanes in each direction plus full shoulders on outside and inside medians — a total of 10 lanes wide. Bridges will be raised, on and off ramps will be lengthened to standards, a new fly over lane taking west bound traffic to Route 209, and a newly constructed full interchange off I-80 accessing both directions of Route 611 at the Shoppes at Stroud Plaza. Additional changes to the Main Street and Dreher Avenue exits are also in the plans.
The I-80 Exit 308 Construction is on schedule and will go out to bid next month said Brown. He claims construction could potentially start this year after the bidding process.
This project will also widen the I-80 roadway at this East Stroudsburg exit, reconstruct the Prospect Street and Lincoln Avenue bridges, lengthening the on and off exit ramps, and installing two roundabouts.
According to Brown, there are two new traffic studies underway on I-80 that are looking at traffic counts, crash history, congestion and future traffic projections to determine deficiencies and safety issues that need to be addressed. One study measures I-80 stretch between exits 293-302 and Exit 308 to the N.J. toll plaza.
"The section between these two studies was done first because it was the most congested with highest traffic counts and worst crash history," explained Brown. "It has very short exit ramps and the local traffic is very heavy between those exits. It needed to be addressed first."
"Nine million dollars has been allocated for these studies thus far, and in four years there will be another 250 million dollars ready for the expansion between exits 293-302, said Scavello. "There is 500,000 million dollars already waiting for the Stroudsburg piece."
Scavello claims the bridges over I-80 at the Delaware Water Gap and Marshalls Creek exits have already been built to accommodate the expansion when the time comes.
Currently there is nothing in place to prevent water runoff from this stretch of I-80, however Scavello explained the expansion would include building basins to collect and redirect the water to further protect our streams and environment.