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More Traffic Tieups on I-81

For the fifth day in just over a week drivers heading north on Interstate 81 ran into all kinds of problems approaching the Scranton area.

PennDOT has been starting repairs each day during rush hour. That has been causing traffic troubles for much of the day, and it’s not over yet.

The traffic troubles this week come after all kinds of problems for travelers heading north on Interstate 81 last week.

For the fifth day in just over a week, drivers found backed up traffic on I-81 north in the Moosic area.

That stretch was all backed up for four days last week. PennDOT said it will likely be like that a few days this week too.

Heading from the Wilkes-Barre area to the Scranton area has meant all kinds of trouble.

“Once you see the brake lights or see the troopers with the lights on trying to get people to slow down it’s time to make the phone call that you’re going to be late for your appointment,” said Dave Mathis of West Pittston.

He is just one of many commuters tired of the traffic. The work has been starting during rush hour, at 8 a.m. and stretching into the afternoon. “It’s been really frustrating only because I come down this way frequently to come here for work and when I come into the area is usually for appointments and it just throws everything off,” Mathis added.

“Every single day, yes and I mean you’re doing two, three miles an hour for miles,” complained Johanna Lipani of Tafton. She travels from the Lake Wallenpaupack area to a hospital near Wilkes-Barre several times a week.
“It’s not so bad going, but coming home that’s really bad.  Northbound? It’s really bad.”

Many drivers have asked why PennDOT can’t do this work at night. A spokesperson said it’s because hot asphalt needed for pothole repair and crack sealing is only available from plants during the day.

He said work has been starting during rush hour, because projects are taking a bit longer than expected and PennDOT doesn’t want to tie up traffic late in the afternoon when normal traffic is heavier.

“I’m trying to decide how I’m going to get home. I’m going to have to go through town,” said Laura Baran. The traffic leaves drivers like her planning other routes, and the work on the interstate has tied up side roads too. “As soon as I see police on the highway telling us to slow down, I’m darting off the highway.”

PennDOT said the work along I-81 north between the Pittston/Dupont exit (175) and Montage Mountain Road exit (182) is scheduled to resume Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

PennDOT plans the same on Thursday.

A PennDOT spokesperson said look for a lot more pothole patching and crack sealing on the interstate before Memorial Day.


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