PennDOT is blasting its way to better safety along a busy highway in Lycoming County.
Well, not exactly, crews have to carve out part of the mountain near Williamsport to make Route 15 safer.
For a few weeks now, Route 15 near South Williamsport has been an all-out construction zone. Heavy machinery worked near the roadway and traffic is down to one lane in both directions.
Over the years, drivers said the section near a scenic overlook along Route 15 has been notorious for crashes and hope all this work ends up making it safer.
“It’s pretty wicked, people coming around there, people go straight through that turn and right into the overlook,” said Gary Sauers.
“I never drive up there in the winter. I avoid it, because it’s so bad,” said Devyn Pasco of South Williamsport.
In order to make more room for cars and trucks, PennDOT will be eliminating the rock fence.
PennDOT officials said there is a series of blasts scheduled for this week and next. When that happens, traffic along Route 15 will be stopped in both directions for about 15 minutes at a time.
One part of the safety improvement project is already complete on the south side of the mountain along Route 15 where there is a barrier dividing northbound and southbound traffic. That same kind of barrier will be in place next year on the north side of the mountain, once the blasting project is complete, according to officials.
“We’re going to have concrete median barrier to separate traffic to prevent head on accidents, a wider shoulder as you come up around the turn,” said PennDOT Project Manager David Wise.
All the work is in hopes drivers will have a safer trip through the area, year round.