Project to Curb Crashes in Carbon County Get Mixed Reviews

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CARBON COUNTY -- PennDOT just announced an $18 million project to help curb congestion and the number of accidents along a busy stretch of Carbon County.

It's the expansion of Route 443 near Lehighton that is planned to add a third lane along a two-mile stretch of the road to be used for those trying to make left turns into the many businesses.

The hope for the new lane is that it will relieve congestion and curb the number of accidents caused by people trying to make left turns.

"There is always an overcrowd of traffic on 443, so I can foresee it really being an asset for the area," said Carolyn Strubinger of Lehighton.

"I'm all for it. Anything that helps prevent further car accidents in the future is a good thing," said Mark Stecyna of Lehighton.

PennDOT says there have been nearly 100 crashes along the two miles stretch of Route 443 in just the last five years. In 80 of those, someone was hurt.

"It's going to affect all the businesses around here a lot, because when the bridge was under construction affected everybody along here," said Gwen Gould with Boulevard Drive-In & Family Restaurant.

Not everyone is excited about the project; some businesses aren't convinced a third lane will curb the number of crashes in the area. Instead they worry more construction will only hurt businesses.

"All it's going to do is get rid of the congestion, I mean you are still going to have those people that don't know they are going to want to turn and then turn at the last minute," said Alice Rose with Boulevard Drive-In & Family Restaurant.

The $18 million expansion project along Route 443 near Lehighton is scheduled to start in 2018, and be completed by 2021.