HAMBURG Sen. David G. Argall (R-29) and state representatives Jerry Knowles (R-124) and Mike Tobash (R-125) urged motorists to use caution and be patient during much-needed upgrades to portions of Route 61 in Berks and Schuylkill counties.

"It is extremely important for motorists to be careful when traveling through the stretch of Route 61 that is currently under construction by PennDOT," Argall said. "Cautious, defensive driving in these construction zones will go a long way toward avoiding a serious accident."

"These upgrades take time and we know this can be frustrating for motorists, but the updates will be well worth the frustration once they are finished," Knowles said.

"As we continue to focus on improving our infrastructure and our roads in the region, I understand that safety and delays are inevitable, and I appreciate everyone's patience while these much-needed improvements are completed," Tobash said.

Specifically, PennDOT is working on four major initiatives along the main thruway in the two counties:

PennDOT is upgrading safety features between the US 222/Rt. 61 interchange to the Rt. 61/Rt. 73 intersection in the Borough of Leesport and Ontelaunee Township. Anticipated to be completed by November 2015, Penn DOT is widening the roadway, upgrading traffic signals and turning lanes. The shoulders of the stretch of roadway will be reconstructed, along with improvements to the drainage system.

In Port Clinton between the Schuylkill River and Route 895, Route 61 will see several upgrades completed in October, including concrete patching, milling and paving, a concrete mountable curb replacement, a concrete median barrier, drainage improvements, new guide rail, and other construction.

Route 61 is receiving safety and capacity improvements in Deer Lake, from Route 895 to Brick Hill Road. PennDOT is also seeking to upgrade drainage and traffic signal systems in Deer Lake Borough and West Brunswick Township. This project is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2015.

Finally, the department is repairing the structurally deficient bridge over Mahannon Creek in West Brunswick and North Manheim townships. This will likely be finished by April of next year.