DICKSON CITY — A busy interchange on Interstate 81 in Scranton was supposed to be closed for three months starting Tuesday.
After hearing concerns from near-by businesses, PennDOT has now decided to keep part of the Dickson City Main Avenue exit open.
PennDOT was spreading the news to businesses along Main Avenue in Scranton telling them that customers will still be able to exit Interstate 81 south to get here.
“We’re going to take all the traffic, move it over and bring it down the on ramp,” said PennDOT spokesman James May.
Businesses like Toyota of Scranton were bracing for a big blow. The Dickson City/Main Avenue exit on I-81 south was supposed to completely closed for the next three months.
“Three days is a long time. Three months would have been a problem, sure. It would have been a problem for everyone,” Vito Sampogne, a salesman at Toyota of Scranton.
This exit is one of the main ways for customers to get to the dealership and numerous other businesses near the interchange.
It’s a relief for them that PennDOT will now allow traffic to exit at main avenue.
“It was going to be very very tough for us. We started internally trying to come up with a plan to speed up the process so we’re prepared. We’re very happy we don’t have to worry about it now and can still keep flow going.” said Sampogne.
PennDOT said this change is a result of business owners voicing their concerns.
“We went back a second time and a third time and kept re-evaluating the plans. One of our engineers was literally up overnight Thursday night into Friday trying to make this work,” said James May.
With this change, traffic will still get off Interstate 81 south the way it does now, except instead of coming down the off ramp, traffic will come down the on ramp. But because of that traffic will not be able to get back on Interstate 81 south from here.
There will be detours to get on I-81 south.
But businesses like Happy Beverage Distributor were mainly concerned about getting their customers here, off the highway. That will happen now.
“I do appreciate their help. I know they need to do the work but at least they’re working with us so that’s a blessing,” said Mahendra Patel, of Happy Beverage.