Congestion Concerns

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DICKSON CITY -- The sign along Main Avenue in Scranton warns the on-ramp to Interstate 81 south at the Dickson City Main Avenue interchange will close Tuesday night.

That changed Monday to help businesses get customers to the area, but that change means the even busier on-ramp will stay closed through the spring.

PennDOT held this meeting at Johnson College to discuss the changes.

Norman Barrett lives just off Main Avenue.  He went to the meeting fearing the ramp closure will still mean major congestion.

"Oh, tremendous amount, tremendous amount (of congestion). Just come up here on a Friday or Saturday and see what it's like up here," said Barrett.

PennDOT is trying to alleviate traffic troubles with this detour. Drivers wanting to get on Interstate 81 south from Main Avenue will be detoured back onto I-81 north. To the next exit by the Viewmont Mall, loop around and return to I-81 south.

PennDOT and businesses in this area know despite the detour, drivers will likely use Viewmont Drive to find their way back to Interstate 81 south, meaning a lot more traffic on this road.  To deal with that, PennDOT is adjusting the traffic lights to deal with the extra cars and trucks.

Signs will be going up around the Viewmont Mall area and the mall's manager expects adjustments along the way.

"It's going to change.  The traffic patterns, people will find a way to get around the traffic patterns so we will have to find a way to keep addressing that or they will have to find a way to keep addressing that," said Jim Mcgrath, Viewmont Mall's manager.

Johnson College is right in the middle of the construction area. It is also looking at ways to lessen the congestion, maybe even altering some class times.

"We are just going to communicate with our students and faculty as much as possible.  Ask our faculty to reiterate over and over about the detours and just to be safe and be careful," said Katie Leonard, of Johnson College.