It's construction season in northwestern Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has more than 50 projects lined up in District 1, which includes Crawford, Erie, Forest, Mercer, Venango and Warren counties.

Overall, the 2021 construction season for District 1 will include 31 highway projects, 13 bridge replacements or rehabilitations, three safety improvements, and 10 projects on local roadways or bridges.

“The northwest region has several major projects starting or wrapping up this year, so while our overall number of projects has decreased from more recent construction seasons, our team is still out there making major improvements to our transportation system,” said Brian McNulty, District 1 executive.

One notable project that will likely affect most county residents is planned work on Interstate 79.

The $15.7 million project will restore 23 lane miles of highway from mile post 154 to mile post 165 in Hayfield and Cussewago townships in Crawford County, and Washington Township in Erie County. The project also includes two bridge rehabilitations and other structural work. 

“PennDOT’s focus is on providing a safe and efficient transportation system in a manner that is fiscally responsible and the best value for the funding we receive. A good example of that is our efforts to combine projects, even across county lines when feasible, to obtain better bid results," said McNulty, who cited the I-79 project as one example.

Two other notable examples of those efforts include:

• Route 428: Resurfacing of more than 4 miles in Troy Township and Hydetown Borough, Crawford County, and 4.7 miles in Plum Township, Venango County. The contract cost is $1.9 million.

• Route 98: Resurfacing and restoring of 10 miles of roadway in Hayfield and Cussewago townships, and 8 miles of roadway in Elk Creek and Franklin townships in Erie County. The contract cost is $4.2 million. 

PennDOT said there are 15 projects scheduled for Crawford County, including:

• Shutz Road Bridge: Rehabilitation of the bridge over a Woodcock Creek tributary near Woodcock Lake in Woodcock Township. The contract cost $1.6 million. 

• Pymatuning Reservoir Bridge (Route 3011): Rehabilitation of the bridge which carries traffic through a popular spillway in the Pymatuning State Park. The work also includes Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility improvements. The contract cost is $2.3 million.

A notable project that will conclude this year includes replacement of the 203-foot-long truss bridge in Cambridge Springs that carries Route 6 over French Creek. The contract cost is $3.8 million. Work is expected to be completed this summer.

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, PennDOT said. When encountering a work zone, please drive 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 are to take turns merging into the open lane.

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