Project to improve intersection to begin soon

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(WBRE/WYOU) — It’s been a long time coming. Too long for many people who live or drive near a truck stop in Luzerne County.

A major highway reconstruction project is about to get underway at one of the most dangerous intersections in our region. Many stories have been done on the intersection in the last 40 years and the central question in all of those stories was when will something be done to make that intersection safer? Well the answer Wednesday is it will happen this year.

This is a common sight every day. Trucks of all sizes and cars competing for access onto Old Berwick Road that leads to the Pilot truck stop as well as homes about a half-mile behind the truck stop. Denise Knorr of Berwick travels through here just about every day.

“It’s confusing because you don’t know which direction everyone is going and you’re trying to get through. So if they have lanes for everybody it will be easier for them, what lane I’m supposed to be in,” Knorr said.

This map shows the location of the truck stop. It’s at the crossroads of Route 93 and Interstate 80 in southern Luzerne County. It’s been the scene of dozens of crashes over the last few years.

One occurred just several weeks ago. A car and tractor-trailer collided near the entrance to the truck stop. PennDOT has been working with township officials to come up with a plan to widen Old Berwick Road and add a third lane, a turning lane. Signs will also be placed to direct traffic to their proper lanes.

“This congestion it’s just random times. It backs traffic up right to Route 93 and right on to the off-ramp onto 80 so hopefully, this project will relieve that and get a better flow here it’s just going to relieve that congestion,” Sugarloaf Township Police Chief Josh Winters said.

Truck drivers like John Haas of Danville says while that may work, he has a suggestion.

“I think four lanes would be much nicer than just the turning lane. These trucks are 52 feet. Some of these stretches are cross country. Just not enough room,” Haas said.

George Barron owns a gas station near the truck stop. He’s seen all too many crashes. He says speed is the biggest factor.

“They come off this mountain too fast. Everybody knows there’s an intersection here but they come down too fast. Sooner or later there’s going to be a truck pulling out in front of you,” Barron said.

The project is expected to begin in the next several weeks. It has been delayed several times because of opposition to the plan by the company that owns the truck stop. Eyewitness News reached out to the company for comment on Wednesday. Thus far there has been no response.

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