Plenty of Roadwork Ahead on Interstate 81

SCRANTON, Pa. -- If you travel on Interstate 81 in the Scranton area, get ready for plenty of roadwork ahead.

PennDOT plans to close lanes at night starting next week and continuing for the entire summer as part of a paving project.

Preliminary work for a long-term road project on Interstate 81 began on Monday.

Drivers will start to see lane restrictions as early as next week for the repaving project which isn't scheduled to be completed until the fall of 2020.

The work on Interstate 81 from goes from Dunmore to the Moosic area.

"It's a really big project, but I think what the public will be most excited about is that they're going to be resurfacing that road. It's a 'mill and fill,' meaning they take out the old pavement and put in new," said PennDOT official James May.

Within the next few weeks, drivers will start to see road crews preparing for the repaving project. The actual repaving will begin in June.

"I actually called PennDOT a couple of times about it, and they said they were going to be working on it this summer, so I'm glad about that," said Carl Bolling of Stroudsburg.

Beginning April 1 and lasting through September, PennDOT plans nighttime lane restrictions on either I-81 south or north every weeknight from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Right now, there are no planned lane restrictions during the day.

"There are so many vehicles that use this stretch of highway. There's more than 80,000 cars a day that use this area," said May.

"That means a lot more smooth driving. Instead of hitting bumps and potholes, little humps. They're like little speed bumps," Bolling said.

Another part of this long-term project is a temporary left-hand exit ramp at Moosic Street. As part of the repaving, the exit ramp at Moosic Street will be temporarily closed next year, so the new exit ramp will be for emergency vehicles only.

"That'll allow them to get down to the hospital faster. It will be a left-hand ramp that they will take and be able to get down to the hospital without having to go around like the other traffic will have to do," May explained.

PennDOT officials say the left-hand exit ramp at Moosic Street will never be open to the public. It will only ever be for emergency vehicles. But that closure of the Moosic Street ramp isn't expected until 2020. PennDOT officials also tell Newswatch 16 there will be off and on lane restrictions after the summer is over for additional work until the entire project is completed in fall 2020.

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