Big I roundabout takes shape

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will offer educational programs to give drivers a hand in maneuvering the soon-to-be-completed two-lane roundabout at the intersection of routes 6, 322, 19 and 98 known as the 'Big I.'

A series of public education sessions on roundabouts months before the "Big I" roundabout opens in Vernon Township will be presented by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

The programs — free to the public — will include tips on how to safely navigate the multi-lane roundabout at the intersection of routes 6, 322, 19 and 98 as well as general information on roundabouts.

The first session is from 11 a.m. to noon Thursday at the Cambridge Springs Senior Center, 156 Venango Ave., Cambridge Springs.

Subsequent sessions are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 20 at the Venango County Senior Expo at the Rocky Grove Volunteer Fire Department, 29 Shuffstall St., Franklin area; 11 to noon Aug. 21 at the Meadville Senior Center, 1034 Park Ave., Meadville; and 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Aug. 22 at the Lakeland Valley Senior Center, 237 South Pymatuning St., Linesville.

The closure of Route 98 access at the Big I is anticipated to be lifted Aug. 24, according to PennDOT spokeswoman Jill Harry. The opening of Route 98 will take PennDOT into the next phase of construction, which focuses on pavement markings, highway lights and splitter islands to divide lanes as drivers approach the roundabout, she said.

The roundabout is scheduled to be open to traffic by Oct. 25.

PennDOT is looking for additional locations to hold community outreach presentations in the coming weeks. Local organizations interested in hosting a Big I roundabout program should contact Harry at (814) 678-5035.

Tyler Dague can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at tdague@meadvilletribune.com.

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