More Closures on Interstate 81 Expected

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SOUTH ABINGTON TOWNSHIP -- You may want to avoid driving through one section of the Abingtons in Lackawanna County beginning Thursday night.

PennDOT plans to detour Interstate 81 traffic through residential communities in the Clarks Summit area.

PennDOT made drivers aware that there would be some lane restrictions on the interstate while the Edella Road bridge was replaced. Now, after crews punctured a water line, it now looks like Interstate 81 will be completely closed in some directions over the next couple of days.

A forklift caused a water line break alongside Interstate 81 late Tuesday night.

Crews continued work on the bridge -- some of it planned, some of it cleaning up part of Tuesday's mess.

The bridge to be replaced, one of more than 500 under the Rapid Bridge Replacement, is expected to be finished by about August.

But with this water line break, PennDOT crews are setting up more than just some interstate 81 lane closures here and there.

Right now, only one lane northbound on Interstate 81 will be open through the night. Then, on Thursday night from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Friday, Interstate 81 is scheduled to be completely closed northbound from the Clarks Summit exit (194) to the Waverly exit (197) with a detour through a residential area.

On Saturday night into Sunday, the southbound lanes of Interstate 81 are expected to be completed closed as well.

"It's not going to be good. It's going to be a mess around here. These roads around here are too small to have trucks trying to make their way back onto (Interstate) 81," said Scott Township resident Joe Malar.

A deli and gas station near the Waverly exit is not looking forward to the detour. Normally, you would think having a detour come through would be good for business, but the owner says that's not the case.

"It's going to be bad."

Even though the detour will only be in place during the overnight hours, Doc Daugherty plans to spend most of his time trying to steer drivers in the right direction, not necessarily making a lot of money because of it.

"Everybody is going to be getting off 81 and they're going to be confused and try to find a way around it. They're not going to follow the detour. They're going to go different ways," said Daugherty.

As if the traffic wasn't enough, Daughtery also lives on the detour route.

"The dogs will be going all night. He'll be howling because there's going to be a lot of truck traffic. We'll see a lot of truck traffic."


  • JD

    This closure is pure crap. It was done to get money into clark summit. Let me describe the detour… they get you off onto route 6, which is under construction and 1 lane is closed. You bump into 2 traffic lights which stop all of rt.81 trucks and cars. When called, the clark summit cops forward you to the state police who, as 6 figure public servents, simply hang up on you. Put a cop to direct traffic at those traffic lights? NO WAY! Rt 81 traffic isn’t the priority direction on those lights, rt.11 is! Are you kidding me? Then they route you to 407, which is closed and has it’s own detour! It is for local traffic only, and all of rt.81’s! lol what a joke. Then, once back on 81 you see that they are sing 81 north as a detour for 81 south! Then, they have potholes all over Rt.81… put some tar in them? NOPE! Post a “rough road” sign instead. The 6 figure morons that came up with this plan knew that the the goal was funneling money into clark summit. OH! was this spring break week for the whole eastern seaboard? Nice time to fleece motorists! YMMV but that is how I see it.

    BTW, I couldn’t see anyone working on anything at night. It might have been out of view though, but I doubt it. And I didn’t see any water from that water pipe either.

    PS. Pennsnot made drivers aware there would be lane restrictions? I didn’t get the memo, please provide proof that all drivers in at least the eastern US were notified. And, just to fix your English a bit, it wasn’t a lane restriction, you closed the interstate north bound… you restricted all travel, you closed the road.

    PSS, what do they have planned for 4th of july holiday travel? Which town needs cash next?

    PSSS, One good thing to note, PA makes Washington DC beltway traffic look good.

  • Sam I Am

    This may be the new water line that used to run across the bridge and was rerouted under 81 due to the bridge replacement.

  • bobc74

    How in the heck did a forklift break a waterline? Waterlines are usually buried underground and forklifts have nothing to do with digging.

  • W Scott Muller

    on the water pipe breakage. 1. It was not late on Tuesday night. Drove by shortly after 7PM was already broken. 2. Here was the solution was to the breakage. They put the bucket from one of the Cat shovels over the water spraying up, so that it washed everything down to the highway. 3. Two hours later came back up 81 still everything looked the same. Water still spraying under the bucket. Questions: 1. Are not these construction companies supposed to know where water pipes, utility lines, etc. run before they dig? 2. I do not know when water was turned off, but should not someone know where the valve is? Two hours and still going seems way to long! 3. Who pays for all damages(water pipe and damages to highway) the construction company, or is it just pushed over to the taxpayers?

    • Roman

      The line was well marked before they stared to dig. White stakes show where the main is. It was an obvious error by the operator of the machine. If the bucket wasn’t placed over the break, that water would have been shooting a hundred feet in the air. Not sure how removing the bucket would have helped at all. Financially, the damage will have to be covered by the construction company who was hired for this job. They will make no money off of this job in the end.

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