DUNMORE – Interstate 81 north will be restricted to one lane for a three-mile span near the North Scranton Expressway until the end of the month, beginning on Wednesday night or Thursday morning.
The work will be taking place between Exit 191B (North Scranton Expressway) and Exit 194 (Clarks Summit). PennDOT spokesman James May said Monday a contractor will be removing all the asphalt down to the concrete base and will require the single-lane pattern for two weeks.
“It will not be possible to reopen the road during the day, as we would normally due in an area like this, because the lane that is under construction is being completely removed,” May said.
The single-lane restriction was initially supposed to go into effect by 6 a.m. on Wednesday, but May said it was pushed back due to the forecast of rain on Tuesday night. Crews will begin work on Wednesday night, and the single-lane closure will be in place by Thursday morning.
The work is part of an ongoing $35 million project to complete three deck replacements on bridges over Main Avenue, Olyphant Avenue and the Lackawanna River, as well as removing a large section of the rock cut wall just north of Exit 191B.
Major delays are expected as a result of the single-lane closure. May said that about 70,000 vehicles travel on that particular portion of I-81 daily.
PennDOT recommends motorists take I-476 (Northeast Extension toll road) between Pittston and Clarks Summit to avoid the delays. While other options, such as the Central Scranton Expressway are available, it is expected that these side roads also will become congested.
Fatal crash on highway
In other news, the southbound lanes of the highway were backed up for hours Monday evening following a fatal crash near the Dickson City exit.
Margo Bolanos, 58, of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada died after the vehicle she was riding in struck an embankment and spun out of control, state Police at Dunmore said.
Troopers said Vilko Raitmaier, 61, also of Mississauga, was operating the 2002 Pontiac Sunfire southbound in the right lane near the Dickson City exit just before 5:30 p.m.
Raitmaier and a front-seat passenger, Nina Bolanos, 55, of Clovis, California, suffered moderate injuries, police said. Margo Bolanos, who was killed, was riding in the back seat.
All occupants were wearing seatbelts, troopers said.