MARYSVILLE, Pa. (WHTM) – We’re just days away from a major road closure.
Starting on Sunday at 9 p.m., Route 11/15 will close for three months until July 30.
Two lanes will reopen August 1-6 for a special event, and from August to October the work will be done during off-peak hours.
The project is expected to be complete in November.
Crews will remove loose rocks and trees and then install wire mesh and rock fencing.
“There’s rocks that fall. Whether they’re little ones or we’ve had large boulders fall, we’ve had vegetation fall,” PennDOT spokeswoman Fritzi Schreffler said. “What we’re trying to do is keep that from happening.”
Brian Moore, a senior construction engineer for Michael Baker International, said crews will be using a crane that takes up the entire width of 11/15. Drivers will be detoured to Route 22/322 and across the Susquehanna River to reach Harrisburg.
“The total detour length is 27 miles, but that is for someone starting just south of the project and using 22/322 to get to a point just north of the project,” Moore said. “Depending on your starting and ending points, the detour would likely be less. For example, if you were going from Harrisburg to Duncannon, the total length traveled would not be significantly longer using the 22/322 detour than it would using 11/15.”
But that section of Route 322 is prone to crashes and closures.
“Depending on where the incident is, which direction it is, how long it’s expected to last, that type of stuff, they have all of these incident management scenarios that can be implemented,” Moore said.
One plan is to detour drivers more than 30 miles on secondary state roads.
“Local people who know their way around are more than welcome to use their local detours,” Schreffler said. “It’s just not something we would encourage.”
PennDOT has also installed “contra-flow” gates in the Route 22/322 median, at the Dauphin and Front Street exits.
“If the accident is on 322 eastbound, they can open up those gates and maintain one lane of westbound and one lane of eastbound, all on the westbound side of the roadway,” Moore said.
If there’s a major catastrophe, PennDOT will temporarily reopen 11/15, but that would take days.
“Reopening 11/15 is going to take a catastrophic event, much like the tanker fire we had that shut down the road for several days,” Schreffler said.
Schreffler’s best advice is to drive carefully.
“Do not be that driver,” she said. “Be as responsible as you can for your own driving behaviors, so hopefully we don’t even have to have discussions about alternate methods and detours.”
For detour information, travel times, and to sign up for alerts, visit http://www.511pa.com/marysville.