Rebuilding Interstate 84

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PennDOT is announcing its biggest project in northeastern Pennsylvania since the Casey Highway was built in the 1990s.

This one is expected to cost nearly a half billion dollars and last several years.

PennDOT has plans to rebuild a 30-mile section of Interstate 84 in Pike County, all the way from Greentown to the New York line. Officials say you won't notice work until about a year from now, but they wanted to talk to us about it today because they've gotten a lot of complaints about the condition of I-84 and wanted to explain what's been happening to it since the 1970s.

Later on this year, PennDOT expects to take on its most ambitious construction project in nearly twenty years.

"This is one of our biggest. This is huge to say the least, and that's probably putting it mildly," said PennDOT official James May.

PennDOT officials say they've heard your cries about the rough ride on Interstate 84 in Wayne and Pike counties, but the problem is much more than skin deep. PennDOT spokesperson James May showed us what Interstate 84 is supposed to look like. But, the concrete under our tires is a type from the 1970s that's actually having a chemical reaction causing it to gel.

"The whole thing is beginning to collapse and it usually collapses from the bottom up."

For years, PennDOT has been pothole patching, but can no longer keep up with the deteriorating highway.pike 84 map

Later on this year PennDOT plans to start a project to completely replace the interstate through Pike County from near the Greentown exit all the way to Matamoras and New York State.

"The first section we'll be doing is from the New York state line to Milford. It's about an eight-mile section. That section alone will cost $78 million, and that's one of five sections we are doing," said May.

Interstate 84 is a popular route to New York City, and a main corridor for truck traffic, but drivers will tell you I-84 has been notoriously bad for years.

"Pretty rough, now going (eastbound) today wasn't too bad," said Chalie Peters of Clearfield. "But westbound, it hasn't changed."

PennDOT says truckers and other travelers won't notice the work until next spring and there is no word yet on how long the project will last but it will be at least a few years, and a few hundred million dollars.

"It'll be a little frustrating because it does cause a little bit of a traffic jam, but for a smoother ride, I'll wait in it, doesn't matter to me," said Michael Welch of Pittsburgh.

PennDOT officials say they will be out patching potholes all along I-84 in Pike County this week, but with the condition of the road, it's only a very temporary fix.

PennDOT plans to bid this project in September.

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