Work is in full swing on SR54 as an almost non-stop rotation of trucks can be seen carrying out thousands of tons of dirt during PennDOT's realignment and straightening of the Hauto Curve in Nesquehoning. This project, which runs between the Schuylkill County line to Cedar Street, will straighten the S-curve on the road in the village of Hauto. The state ordered the first study of this dangerous S-curve in 1994.
Past reports blame environmental concerns and other issues for the delay and from preventing PennDOT from putting the project on its priority list. Part of the land that is being used to build a roadway was once home to an electric substation.
According to PennDOT, there are several reasons to get rid of the "S" turns. Over the last 10 years or so, there have been four deadly crashes, as well as many other incidents involving major injuries.
The current project involves roadway realignment, earthwork, new signage and milling and paving work. During the project, PPL and its subcontractors will have to move or replace numerous poles located alongside SR54.
Although the consensus of local residents are for the work, some local residents are worried the straighter road might encourage speeders.
Beginning in mid-March, traffic was restricted to a single lane while PennDOT subcontractors started the first phase of construction. During the end of the first phase, crews will have built a temporary road to SR54 traffic between the Schuylkill County line to Tippets Road. Once the temporary road is complete, SR54 will be closed and all traffic will be shifted to the temporary road. This roadway will be open in both directions and construction will not restrict traffic on it
Once the realignment work is complete traffic will be shifted back to SR54 and the temporary road will be closed. The work, which started in early March, is expected to be finished by November. PennDOT stressed that the completion date is dependent on weather. PennDOT is telling motorists to expect delays Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Reading Materials Inc., Skippack, is the general contractor on the $3,629,340 project.