Drivers on I-70 east of Washington to see more work being done

Drivers who travel Interstate 70 east of Washington can expect to see more work being done in preparation for a major reconstruction of more than five miles of highway in South Strabane Township.

Construction along the westbound lanes of Interstate 70 between the South Junction and Beau Street exit Photo:Holly Tonini/Observer-Reporter

Drivers who travel Interstate 70 east of Washington can expect to see more work being done in the coming weeks and months in preparation for rebuilding more than five miles of highway between the Beau Street and Eighty Four interchanges in South Strabane Township.

“Folks will be seeing more work as they drive through,” said Scott Faieta, assistant construction engineer for the state Department of Transportation overseeing the $118 million project being done by Lane Construction, at a briefing Thursday. “We will be doing as much work as we can as weather permits.”

“We are plugging away and doing our best not to inconvenience traffic,” he added. “So far, the only lane closures are done between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.”

Temporary widening of the shoulders has been completed between the Beau interchange and south junction with Interstate 79. Storm water basin work is being done and dirt is being moved for drainage work in the median.

Between the south junction and Eighty Four exit, storm water ponds are being built.

“Temporary paving work will be done between the south junction and the Zediker Station Road area between now and the end of the year,” Faieta said. “If we get better weather, we will go further toward the Eighty Four exit. We will do as much as the weather allows.”

PennDOT and the contractor are waiting for approval of a permit for environmental work in that part of the construction area from the state Department of Environmental Protection. Faieta said the permit is currently under review.

“If there are issues with it, it may delay the completion of the project,” Faieta said of the project, slated to be done in October 2020.

Tim Harden, overseeing the project for Lane, said once the permit is secured, excavation work can begin. A curve in the highway just east of the south junction is slated to be straightened as part of the reconstruction of the highway.

Faieta also warned state police continue to issue citations to drivers who fail to adhere to the 45-mph speed limit in the construction zone.

“The lower speed limit protects workers and the public,” Faieta said. “It is easier to transition between changing traffic patterns at the lower speed limit.”

With the end of the summer travel season, Faieta said he noticed less traffic in the busy area.