DUNMORE, Pa. -- PennDOT officials say they cannot remember the last time this has happened: a year of no major construction projects on Interstate 81 from the New York border through Schuylkill County.
"I walked around the building and asked, 'Does anybody remember the last time there wasn't construction on 81?' Nobody could seem to remember that time, so it's been a while. It really has,” said PennDOT spokesman James May.
PennDOT has spent the past 10 years replacing 18 bridges on the stretch of interstate 81 from Clarks Summit in Lackawanna County through Nanticoke in Luzerne County, but this year, there is nothing big planned.
Most drivers seem thrilled.
"We go to the lake all the time, and it's just going to be nice knowing we're not going to have any holdups on the way to the lake. Wonderful. I'm so excited,” laughed Alisha Levinsky of Dunmore.
Others remain skeptical.
"I would hope it would be true, but I highly doubt it. It would be nice if it were true,” said a driver from Luzerne County who did not want to give her name.
PennDOT officials do not want people to think there won't be any work on that stretch of interstate. They said there may be some pothole patching and some bridge painting, but those projects should only take a couple of days and happen mostly at night.
"To preserve the bridge, they will go out and just paint the bridge. That's a two-day operation and happens mostly at night. There is one project going out to bid this year, but the work will happen next year,” said May.
PennDOT officials also said this year they will be concentrating more on repairing rural roadways.