Construction comes to Blue Route

March 12, 2009 5:02:41 PM PDT
It looks like big time traffic troubles are in your future if you drive the Blue Route on a regular basis. Motorists have only three more days before PennDOT begins a multi-year reconstruction project. Starting Sunday night at 10:00, PennDOT will be working on the northbound side, but will install an express lane so there will be three lanes open in each direction during construction.

"To accelerate the construction schedule and by using the express lane pattern, we will reduce by a year the time to rebuild these two bridges," Lester Toaso of PennDOT said.

But the project is still expected to take until the end of the year to complete and that's just the northbound side.

At the start of 2010, crews will rehabilitate the southbound lane.

"It took them 20 years to get the Blue Route done so why would it be anything different?" Frank Casey of Douglasville, Pennsylvania said.

PennDOT officials say the bridges have suffered severe deterioration, rust, and metal fatigue. Officials hope the repairs will last about 30 years.

"There is no safety issue, it is not weight restricted, it is in poor condition; we did do various interim repairs to make sure the weakest areas would be serviceable during this period," Charles Davies of PennDOT said.

The rehabilitation of the twin bridges will cost more than $47-million. 10 million of that will go towards the Intelligent Transportation System which is technology that will help reduce congestion, manage traffic flow, and provide commuters alternate routes.

The speed limit within the construction zone will be 45 miles per hour. Officials say until people get used to the new traffic pattern give yourself at least an extra 20 minutes during rush hours.

RELATED: Get an overview of I-476 and I-76
RELATED: Get a close-up of the lane change plans on I-476

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