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Road Work Means New Delays on I-81

Posted on: 4:40 pm, May 7, 2012, by , updated on: 05:24pm, May 7, 2012

Drivers headed north on Interstate 81 can expect another week of long delays.

An area that had weeks of traffic back-ups last month is scheduled to be trouble again this week.

The traffic backed up early Monday morning and lasted until the afternoon near the Luzerne/ Lackawanna county border on I-81 northbound.

Drivers heading north on i-81 Monday morning likely found themselves in a big mess.

Around noon a seven mile delay stretched from the Pittston/Dupont exit (175) up to the Davis Street/Montage Mountain Road exit (182).

Many drivers tried to escape the highway headache by ducking onto route 11 through Avoca and Moosic where delays continued throughout most of the day.

Emergency responders also had to navigate around the extra volume of traffic.

“It does create a lot of havoc getting around,” said Avoca Volunteer Fire Chief Chris Van Luvender, adding delays could hamper emergency crews. “It affects the response time a little bit because the town is not that big of a town and the streets aren’t that wide. We have a tough time not only in our own borough but to do the mutual aid calls we do out of our station with the rescue.”

If all the extra traffic from the interstate construction wasn’t bad enough, a section of Route 11 in Avoca near Route 315 is shut down several times a day due to blasting from the ongoing road widening project.

“That just makes the headache a little worse by slowing things down and that but the light down at the end of town and the new light seems to help a little bit of getting the traffic moving and that you know,” added Van Luvender.

Not everyone is complaining. The owners of this hoagie shop said all the extra volume in Avoca on Route 11 actually brought more customers inside.

“We had a few people come in from Virginia coming through on the highway and they stopped for lunch they enjoyed it so we don’t mind the traffic,” said Laurie Charney of Patty’s Sub Division.

According to PennDOT, crews are scheduled to be back in the same areas Tuesday through Thursday doing sealing and paving work on Interstate 81 northbound between Moosic (180) and Davis Street/Montage Mountain Road (182).

Officials said expect delays from around 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. each day.

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