LACKAWANNA COUNTY, Pa. -- PennDOT is warning drivers this week to avoid part of Interstate 81 in Lackawanna County.
As crews are out brush cutting, the interstate is down to one lane from the Dickson City/Main Avenue exit (190) and the exit for Business Route 6 (191).
“This is really important work that we have to do. One, we need the trees and the brush cut back so it’s not growing over the signs and blocking the signs, but also it will allow the sun to come in and heat up the road when we have the winter and the snow and the ice," said PennDOT spokesman James May.
Traffic was backed up for miles as a result of the work Wednesday morning.
With more than 80,000 vehicles per day, this is one of the busiest stretches of interstate in northeastern Pennsylvania.
“You know I get it. I have to get to my job, too, so I understand from the standpoint that they have a job to do and they have to do it when they say they have to do it, but as a commuter, it is frustrating, especially when you’re commuting from a little bit of a distance," said Heather DeFazio of Lake Ariel.
PennDOT says the focus Wednesday is Interstate 81 northbound and I-81 southbound on Thursday.
Workers said the brush cutting has to be done during daylight hours.
“Being able to do it safely, seeing what they’re doing, there’s a lot of woody vegetation out there. We want to get it cut back and we want to make sure our workers are safe while they’re doing it," said Garrett Westover of PennDOT maintenance.
PennDOT is urging drivers to go through the city of Scranton or use the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Route 476) to avoid the backups.