DUNMORE, Pa. -- The Drinker Street exit ramp off northbound Interstate 81 is now closed, and PennDOT says it's set to remain that way for at least a month.
Crews were out Monday evening blocking the far-right lane leading up to Exit 186 so they can continue with PennDOT's ongoing highway replacement project on this stretch of the northbound lanes.
“This part of the project is going to be from Central Scranton Expressway to Drinker Street,” said Michael Taluto, a PennDOT spokesperson. “The far-right lane, they're going to be working in that area and that means they have to close the Drinker Street ramp.”
The exit closure is part of the same project that, earlier this summer, saw the northbound lanes of I-81 split in two between the Central Scranton Expressway and Drinker Street.
For several weeks that traffic pattern caused long backups on the interstate in Lackawanna County.
“Between Moosic and Dunmore, it's always a parking lot anytime they attempt to do any repairs or anything. It just backs it all the way up to Pittston,” said Bobby Sullivan from Dunmore.
“I was headed to Dunmore, there was an area without warning that just went down to one lane on the right,” said Joanne McDade from Shavertown.
Drinker Street is home to several stores and restaurants, and some owners wonder if this closure could impact business.
“It's always a concern. I mean, you never want to them get traffic away from your own business,” said John Reckless, owner of 3 Jacks Burger Bar on Drinker Street.
And most understand the work has to be done.
“You got to do what you got to do. They have to do it,” said Ann Burns at Doma Importing Co. “And I know people complain but they complain if they do it, they complain if they don't do it.”
PennDOT suggests taking the Tigue Street exit off Interstate 84 or the Dunmore/Throop exit (188) off northbound Interstate 81 as ways to get to Drinker Street.