Sen. Casey, PennDOT highlight upcoming construction projects in East Central PA

PennDOT officials joined Senator Bob Casey Monday in Tilden Township to highlight projects that will be bid in 2022 in the six-county east central region and discussed the benefits coming to regional roads and bridges due to the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“Pennsylvania is greatly benefitting from the passing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure law,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “We are fortunate to have this funding which is being used to address additional infrastructure needs.”

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Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Acting Executive Deputy Secretary Melissa Batula said, “we have many meaningful projects that will modernize our infrastructure while creating sustainable, good-paying jobs that will be transformative for our transportation system and our local economies.”

The event was held near the Interstate 78 interchange with Route 61 which is currently being reconstructed under a $125.6 million contract.

“Thanks to the infrastructure law we are beginning to rebuild our roads, bridges and more vital infrastructure across Pennsylvania, and we are jumpstarting projects that have been put on hold. The Interstate 78 exchange project and others throughout Berks County and the region will make it easier and safer for Pennsylvanians to travel and commute. These construction projects will also create good-paying jobs. We are making progress to rebuild our infrastructure and I will continue to work in Congress to bring infrastructure investments to the Commonwealth,” Senator Casey said.

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The total value of projects under construction this year in PennDOT District 5 covering Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, and Schuylkill counties is approximately $500 million. Overall highlights in the district’s 2022 construction season include: approximately 116 miles of paving; approximately 31 bridges will be repaired or replaced; and approximately 265 miles of roadway will be seal coated.

These improvements include projects supported and accelerated by the BIL. In 2022 alone the BIL is bringing at least $50.8 million in additional funding to the District 5 region to be allocated by the department and its local Metropolitan and Rural Planning Organization (MPO/RPO) partners: Reading Area Transportation Study will receive at least $18.4 million more.

“The BIL will advance multiple projects that may have otherwise been delayed,” said District 5 Executive Michael W. Rebert. “This funding is essential to move these projects forward.”

Notable ongoing projects that will continue this year include: Project to improve I-78 including patching, milling, paving and bridge preservation in Berks, Lehigh, and Northampton counties, $23.3 million; Reconstructing I-78 between Exit 35 (Route 143/Lenhartsville) and Lehigh County line in Greenwich Township, Berks County, $168.3 million; Reconstruction and widening on I-78, including rehabilitating the bridge over the Schuylkill River and upgrading the Route 61 interchange, in Tilden Township and Hamburg Borough, Berks County, $125.6 million; Intersection improvements on U.S. 222 in Maidencreek Township, Berks County, $26.7 million.

Notable projects that are expected to begin this year include: Resurface Route 562 between Business Route 422/Perkiomen Avenue and Shelbourne Road in St. Lawrence Borough and Exeter Township, Berks County, $1.4 million-$1.6 million (est.); Resurface Old Route 22 between the Bethel Township line and St. Michaels Road in Upper Tulpehocken, Upper Bern, and Tilden Townships, Berks County, $3.1 million – $3.4 million (est.); Resurfacing Route 737 between Zettlemoyer and Eagle Point roads in Greenwich and Maxatawny townships, Berks County, $2.3 million-$2.5 million (est.).

As construction projects are underway in the region, the traveling public can anticipate seeing many work zones and are urged to keep in mind their safety and the safety of highway workers.

When encountering a work zone, officials advise driving the posted speed limit, turn on your headlights, pay close attention to signs and flaggers and avoid all distractions. In high traffic locations, motorists are encouraged to use both lanes of travel to the merge point and to take turns merging into the open lane.

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