Work is progressing on the rock cut project on Route 309 between Wilkes-Barre and Mountain Top and is on schedule to finish in late fall, a state Department of Transportation spokesman said Tuesday.
“It’s supposed to be completed by November of this year,” said Mike Taluto.
Blasting to cut away rock is continuing along the northbound lane, which has been closed to traffic.
Drivers have been using the southbound lanes to travel in both directions since the $5.2 million safety enhancement project started last spring. But, Taluto said, there haven’t been major traffic flow problems.
“We haven’t gotten any major concerns,” he said. “Everything is going smoothly, as far as I heard.”
In addition to restricting traffic to single-lane travel in each direction, PennDOT reduced the speed limit to 35 mph and banned trucks over 10.5 tons for all hours in the southbound lane, toward Mountain Top, and from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m. for the northbound lane.
The purpose of the project is to remove portions of the rock in the area to widen the rock cut. That will reduce the amount of water that flows onto the road and decrease erosion and icy conditions in the winter.
The wider cut will allow more sunlight to shine on the road surface, which will decrease ice buildup.
An estimated 18,000 vehicles travel that part of Route 309, which curves its way up the steep mountain from Hanover Township to Fairview Township.
In May, a $6,800 grant through PennDOT’s Aggressive Driving Enforcement and Education Project was awarded to the two townships’ police departments to step up patrols in the area.
PennDOT installed two portable cameras for motorists to view traffic conditions before traveling on the road. The camera shots are available at www.511pa.com.