PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Roads and bridges are frequently talked about in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania. Tuesday night, locals got to voice their opinions to PennDOT about an upcoming project in Luzerne County.
Many people take Interstate 81 every day. Representatives from PennDOT say the project is intended to make travel easier and safer.
It was a chance for people who use a key section of i-81 to have a say in what it may look like in the future.
The crowd gathered at Wilkes-Barre Area High School in Plains Township, Tuesday to learn about PennDOT’s ‘Partnership 81’ project.
It proposes a 7.5-mile reconstruction of Interstate 81 from Hanover Township to Wilkes-Barre Township.
“In this area, we have a lot of people who are very familiar with this corridor. They live along it, they travel it every day, and they commute north or south to work or for recreation. Part of our process to deliver this project is to get feedback from the local community,” said Richard Roman the District Executive for PennDOT Engineering District 4.
Options include adding a third lane both northbound and southbound on I-81, curve realignment, and new interchange access.
“In the morning it’s rush hour, and in the afternoon when all these businesses let out there is traffic at the Hanover Industrial Park as they’re coming on through middle road where the Red cross is, or over by the Sugarnotch/Preston exit there, to get access to 81 and 29. And I’m just gonna see if these roads are gonna be a little bit wider,” explained Ronald Jarzenbovicz, a Hanover Resident.
Once the design is set the project moves to a public-private partnership. PennDOT says four commercial properties and 16 homes could possibly be acquired through eminent domain.
“I didn’t know it until I got the postcard, and then I’m thinking, I’m gonna have to find somewhere to move, so it’s going to affect me and I’ve been there for over 25 years now, Mary Ann Siegel, Wilkes-Barre Township Resident.
Siegel is keeping a positive attitude as she awaits what happens next.
“I am prepared, it’s just a matter of finding out and knowing what the options are and what is actually gonna be presented to us,” Siegel added.
PennDOT says tolling isn’t anticipated and construction is not expected to begin before the year 2025.
You can find more information linked on ‘penndot’s partnership 81’ project page.