Interstate 81 Roadwork Expected to Cause Major Back-Ups

By Eric Deabill |

Published 07/14 2014 04:56PM

Updated 07/14 2014 07:51PM

Lackawanna County-If you use Interstate 81 North in Lackawanna County, PennDOT has a big warning for you!

Planned roadwork later this week could cause major delays in the Dickson City area.

An estimated 70,000 drivers use Interstate 81-North in the Dickson City area everyday and starting Wednesday night into Thursday morning, PennDOT plans to make a three-mile stretch of the road single lane only, which could cause big back-ups.

As a $35 million project nears completion, contractors will be making repairs to the concrete base of the road.

As a result, traffic will be down to one lane in the area for at least two weeks, around the clock.

"When you're literally removing a lane and taking it down ten inches, you can't then have traffic driving on the area that you're working on because literally the road is gone," PennDOT spokesman James May said.

After dealing with roadwork for years, the news isn't what Carol Sohns, owner of Main Street Bagel, wanted to hear.

"If it causes back-ups, people are going to find different ways to get where they're going which means they're not going to be passing by Main Street Bagel," Sohns said.

Sohns says the summer season is her busiest time of year and she says when Interstate 81 goes down to one lane, traffic backs-up fast.

"We do a lot of deliveries also and we do a lot of deliveries up that direction so if they want a delivery and we can't really say NO, it's going to take a little bit more time," Sohns said.

PennDOT says they expect the work to create one of the longest planned back-ups all summer and they're urging drivers to plan ahead.

"We anticipate major, major delays on this portion of 81 North, because of that we are urging motorists to consider using the turnpike. You can get on down in Pittston and you can get off in Clarks Summit and you can bypass all of this," May said.

PennDOT says that part of Interstate 81-North will be down to one lane, 24 hours a day, until the end of July.

Because of the expected backlogs, officials also expect the secondary routes like the Central Scranton Expressway to become congested as well.

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