Drivers Prepare for Backups with Scheduled Roadwork on I-81

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DUNMORE -- With warmer weather moving in, road projects and construction are getting underway, including an extensive one along Interstate 81 in Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties.

PennDOT says a stretch of Interstate 81 from Drinker Street in Dunmore to the Avoca exit in Luzerne County is the busiest stretch on the interstate in northeastern Pennsylvania, with 80,000 cars passing through every day. It's also the same stretch where crews are set to start extensive repairs Monday morning and continue for the next three weeks.

Crews plan to start working 7:30 a.m. Monday. For the first week of May, one lane is scheduled to be closed on the southbound side of Interstate 81. Then from May 8 to May 20, PennDOT plans to have northbound Interstate 81 down to one lane. It's all so crews can work on several projects at once, such as pothole repairs, crack sealing, and bridge deck repairs.

PennDOT spokesperson James May admits workers will be busy along this stretch.

"We have not done this before, but we'll be taking an entire summer's worth of work and condensing it down into a three-week time period," May said.

In the meantime, drivers are urged to consider using the Pennsylvania Turnpike from Clarks Summit to the Pittston exit to bypass the expected backlog of traffic.

Shoppers at Gerrity's on Meadow Avenue in Scranton know they're in the thick of it, stuck between the roadwork and not quite close enough to effectively use the turnpike.

"There's no telling how bad that could be. All I know, it's uncalled for and unnecessary," said Tom Herman of Springbrook.

Bobby Martinez of Scranton uses that stretch of I-81 a couple times a week, but he sees this roadwork in a different light.

"It'll be a good difference because they need to fix these roads for better commute to places and for the car. It does a lot of damage, these potholes. They really damage the cars," Martinez said.

The work is scheduled to take place from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.


  • Mike S

    Why would the work not proceed around the clock and get it done in 1 week instead of 3? Nah… that would make too much sense… ridiculous.

  • nervous nelly

    I actually enjoy construction season. It makes traffic slowdown to a safe speed. The posted speed limit of 55 on 81 will now actually be 55. Although the sign will read 40mph. I hope the construction on 81 lasts until November.

  • Phil McCracken

    “”We have not done this before, but we’ll be taking an entire summer’s worth of work and condensing it down into a three-week time period,” May said.”
    … working 7:30am to 3:30pm Monday thru Friday. Corbett had the right idea about privatizing the highways. Enjoy your commutes and taxes.

    • Eagle Eye

      Yep. James May just inadvertently confessed on television to PennDot misuse of public funds.

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