PennDOT Planning Work on Interstate 81

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DUNMORE -- PennDOT has announced road work that will affect many drivers in Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties.

Parts of interstate 81 will be under construction, leading to heavy traffic during the month of May.

PennDOT officials say the repairs to the interstate will happen between the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport exit (178) and the Drinker Street exit (186) in Dunmore. The work will take place in the beginning of May and take up to three weeks to complete.

PennDOT tells Newswatch 16 a single lane for three miles will be shut down during each day of work.

For drivers, the thought of constant traffic has already created headaches.

"My heart just sank," said Rita Van Fleet of Old Forge. "It's going to be a major setback for me because you're trying to beat the clock and get to work on time."

Starting at the beginning of May, PennDOT crews will start at 7:30 a.m. and work until the afternoon.

For drivers who use that area of Interstate 81 regularly, PennDOT suggests using the Pennsylvania Turnpike Route 476 between Clarks Summit and Pittston.

"What we want to do this year is to condense it into a three-week time period. During those three weeks, I'll tell you right up front, this part of 81, avoid it if at all possible," said PennDOT official James May.

The first week PennDOT plans to make repairs on the southbound lanes.

The following two weeks they will work on the northbound lanes of Interstate 81.

During the three-week period, PennDOT will be repairing potholes and picking up trash.

May says crews will also be working on bridge repairs.

"There is also a crew that will be going through bridges and washing the salt that has been there since the winter. So lots of work to do, and normally this type of work would take the entire summer," said May.

PennDOT plans to begin work on May 1 and hopes to finish up May 20.


  • Brad

    81 is the worst road on the planet. It’s right up there with the Surekill Expressway. We have to deal with this never ending bridge project and hey while we have already caused maximum inconvenience lets take it a step further and screw up everyone’s morning commute too.

  • Concerned

    Is there a reason why penn dot only works days? many many states work during the night so citizens are as inconvenienced

  • bobc74

    There are plenty of prisoners, unemployed and welfare recipients in both Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties to pick up trash along the roads. We don’t pay all these extra taxes on gas at the pump for trash pickup. Also why do they need to repair the bridges in this section of I-81? Most of them were built within the last several years. And for the number of times this section has been repaved in the last 10-15 years there shouldn’t be any potholes.

  • fed up

    Here we go again, PennDOT picking up litter. I could just puke! $24 an hour when we have inmates to do it for free? Lord knows Scranton and Wilkesbarre has enough inmates to make those medians spotless. Get those chain gangs going. Inmates would love it. Fresh air and sun, then they would behave and sleep good at night.

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