PennDOT District 5 announced that work has started on a project to improve Interstate 81 between the Luzerne County line and Exit 131 (PA 54) in Schuylkill County.

The contract is financed with federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Crews have started patching the roadway and motorists may experience weekday lane restrictions between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Updates will be provided as traffic patterns change.

Barletta Materials & Construction, Inc. of Tamaqua is the general contractor on the $22.2 million project.

The project includes concrete patching, paving, roadway joint replacements, shoulder upgrades and safety updates including new guide rail, signing and pavement markings. Also included will be milling and paving of the ramps at exits 134 (Delano) and 131 (PA 54), as well as reconstruction of the ramps at exit 138 (PA 309).

All work is expected to be complete in November 2011.

Within the six-county District 5 region, PennDOT will invest $141 million of federal economic recovery funds on transportation projects, which include road and bridge improvements and Intelligent Transportation System installations.

To learn more about how the federal economic recovery will benefit Pennsylvania, visit www.recovery.pa.gov [1]