Construction restarts in Pennsylvania, with precautions

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LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Nine counties in central Pennsylvania are getting set to head to the yellow phase next week but as of Friday, construction throughout the commonwealth is green lit, with precautions.

Governor Wolf’s date for construction to resume has come. May 1st marked the date that contractors and other non-essential construction could get back to the grind. Luckily for those still on the road, the essential work hasn’t stopped for PennDOT.

“Before today, probably there’s been eight or so construction projects that have been deemed critical because we had to start addressing a need as early as we can,” Rich Roman, PennDOT District 4 Executive told Eyewitness News.

While essential work was readily seen on roadways, PennDOTT can now get back into the fold on a number of projects interrupted by COVID-19. With that work beginning again, there are still major precautions.

“Each project, now must follow CDC guidelines, guidelines from the Department of Health, and each project will now have to have a COVID-19 safety plan,” Roman said.

Guidelines include requiring crews to practice social distancing, limited numbers on crews and precautionary worker monitoring.

“What’s changed since last year as it relates to COVID-19 is all the additional safety and cleaning and sanitizing precautions that are really a part of all of our lives now. They’re also a part of our lives in construction,” Roman said.

As road work gets started back up, so does constructions of buildings and other projects. Whether it’s linear along roads or vertical like on school campuses and businesses, safety remains paramount.

“Like any other industry, I think as the state and the nation starts to ramp back up, we have to do so smartly,” Roman said.  

A major issue for some of those projects is the proximity to install things like plumbing and pipework both in buildings and along roads. Roman tells Eyewitness News, he’s confident both private contractors and PennDOT will be getting creative to keep workers safe, and get the jobs done.

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