Emergency Money to Pave over Patchwork on Interstate 81

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PennDOT Officials hired a contractor today to begin emergency repairs on the most heavily traveled part of Interstate 81 in our viewing area.

75,000 vehicles travel the highway between Scranton and the Lackawanna/Luzerne County line.

PennDOT officials said it will cost nearly $5 million to pave that part of Interstate 81. And to help alleviate traffic, PennDOT said they're doing this project all at night.

Ernie Mancuso's pride and joy is his 1993 Ford Mustang, and he cringes a bit every time he takes it from his home in Jermyn and heads south.

"Not too good, but it's the only way to get to where I'm going. We're headed to Carlisle for a Ford weekend," Mancuso said.

Mancuso said the 20-year-old car bounces around quite a bit on Interstate 81 around Scranton where the road is really rough. It's one of the worst sections of 81 in our area, and after pulling some strings with the state,
PennDOT plans to re-pave it this summer.

The section stretches six and a half miles from the Central Scranton Expressway exit to the Lackawanna/Luzerne County line. The paving on both the northbound and southbound lanes will cost nearly five million dollars.

PennDOT promises to work overnights on the project. PennDOT spokesperson James May says only big projects can be done at night and this one fits the bill. The paving project is so big, they didn't have the money for it in this year's budget

"We were down in Harrisburg a few months ago, and we were with the Secretary of Transportation and he asked, 'Is there anything else going on in your district that we need to know about?'. And our District Executive brought up this stretch of Interstate 81 right here saying it was in desperate need of repair," May said.

PennDOT's already done some preliminary work, but they hope to have a contractor out paving by the beginning of July. After the sun goes down, and hopefully after most of the drivers are off the road.

"A lot of times we complain about traffic jams because the roads are being done over, but once it's done everybody's happy," said Charla Troyano of Nanticoke.

If you drive Interstate 81 around Scranton and noticed crews out here patching the road but didn't notice the road getting any smoother. That's because crews were repairing the base of the highway to prepare for this project.

They hope to have the 81 paving done by mid-October.