NANTICOKE — Work has begun on three of six new roundabouts to be added to the Nanticoke/Hanover Township area by 2020. The roundabouts are part of the South Valley Parkway project.
The total cost of the project is estimated at $50 million and includes two new bridges over state Route 29, as well as the roundabouts. The final result will be the highway connecting state Route 29 and Interstate 81 with Kosciuszko Street.
According to an email from Chris Tomasewski, assistant liaison engineer for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the project manager, five of the roundabouts will be single-lane and one will be two-lane.
Nanticoke will host three single-lane roundabouts: Middle Road and Prospect Street, Middle Road and Espy Street, Middle Road and Kosciuszko Street.
Hanover Township will have two single-lane roundabouts and one two-lane roundabout. The two single-lane roundabouts are the South Valley Parkway and the northbound on- and off-ramps at the new state Route 29. The parkway and the new state Route 29 south bound on/off ramp will be the two-lane roundabout.
“The three roundabouts along Middle Road will be open sooner (than 2020),” Tomasewski said.
Rep. Gerald J. Mullery, whose district includes the three roundabouts on Middle Road, is “very happy” this project is underway, especially after “countless public hearings.” He hopes public misconception about the project — that the main purpose is to provide a “more effective route to LCCC” — is dispelled as the project gets underway.
“The hope is now that we have the parkway, it’ll be a much-needed route for industry,” Mullery said, noting the development of land at the Bliss Bank and the “land around the R Bar,” both in Newport Township.
Nanticoke resident Kevin Stevenson thinks the roundabouts are a good idea.
“They’ll be giving people leaving Nanticoke an easier way to access Route 29 and Interstate 81,” Stevenson said. “It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Erik Vandermark, a Wanamie resident, lived in Europe for “more than a decade” when he was in the military and believes “done correctly, it will help.”
Roundabouts are standard practice in Europe. The Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, was the first roundabout; it was constructed in 1901.
Holly Evanoski, a Wilkes-Barre resident who uses Middle Road to get to Luzerne County Community College alumni events, believes roundabouts are “unnecessary” and was hesitant to agree with Stevenson and Vandermark’s comments.
“They can also be difficult to maneuver for the inexperienced driver and because NEPA does not have an abundance of roundabouts,” Evanoski said. “Even the most experienced driver will have difficulty.”
Reach Melanie Mizenko at 570-991-6116 or on Twitter @TL_MMizenko