Drivers along Route 443 in Mahoning Township need to be alert for changes in traffic patterns beginning today as crews work to widen the highway in anticipation of a Wal-Mart Supercenter being built near Troxell Road.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation advises drivers that there will be lane restrictions with flagging for work and roadway widening. Work will be done from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and work is expected to wrap up by Aug. 31, according to PennDOT.

Passers-by have probably noticed the veritable mountain rising on the construction site on the north side of Route 443 where the 203,000-square-foot supercenter is being built. The plans call for Route 443 to be widened to add a deceleration lane and changing Troxell's Road.

Township supervisors accepted Wal-Mart's proposal to build the supercenter in Oct. 2006, two years after the company first submitted plans; there followed several years of approval negotiations, planning changes and lawsuits filed by neighbors of the proposed store.

The retail giant now has 87 supercenters, 39 regular stores, 23 Sam's Club stores and four distribution centers in the state, according to it's Web site. Supercenters average 186,000 square feet and carry about 142,000 items, including groceries. Wal-Mart's regular stores average 108,000 square feet and carry about 120,000 items. The site of the new supercenter store is about a half-mile from an existing Wal-Mart on the north side of Route 443, across from the Carbon Plaza.

Other PennDOT projects scheduled to begin in the county include work inspection on Forge Street, between Franklin and Railway streets in Weissport from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.

PennDOT crews will also be doing bridge inspection work on westbound Route 209 and Harrity Road from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 9.