HANOVER TOWNSHIP – More than 300 detour signs have been put up in Luzerne County to direct tractor-trailer drivers away from a work zone on Route 309 between Wilkes-Barre and Mountain Top.
PennDOT officials told Newswatch 16 that the signs were put up about a month behind schedule, when contractors started work to blast away parts of a rock cut along the curvy roadway.
“Trucks may not go up the mountain, which is southbound, at any time,” said James May. “They may not come down the mountain between 4am and 11pm.”
Despite the ban, Newswatch 16 saw a pair of 18-wheelers breaking the ban and driving through the narrow work zone.
If caught ignoring the restriction and detour, Hanover Township Police Chief Albert Walker says drivers could be hit with fines costing around $170.
"I realize that 26 miles out of the way may seem like a lot but the reality is, that truck ban is in place for the safety of the motorists on this highway, as well as the safety of the individuals up in Mountain Top for access to emergency medical services,” said Walker. "Go the detour route, save yourself the fine and stay off Route 309 until the construction project is complete.”
At a rest area on the detour along Interstate 81, independent truck driver Jeff Salse told Newswatch 16 that lengthy detours can be stressful and expensive when on a delivery deadline.
“A detour like that, it`s just taking money right out of my pockets,” said Salse. “"Every mile that we`re burning you know, it adds up. That`s a pretty big detour.”
Hanover and Fairview Township Police officials said they also received a $6,800 grant, and will work together to target aggressive drivers in and around the work zone along Route 309.