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Route 209 and 115 PV roundabout project moves forward

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is moving forward with the Pleasant Valley roundabout project in Chestnuthill Township.

Last week, PennDOT opened bids for the construction of the intersection of routes 209 and 115 in Brodheadsville. Two roundabouts are slated, one at the Route 209 and 115 intersection, the other at the entrance to Pleasant Valley High School at Pleasant Valley Way.

The road project will include the widening of both Route 209 and Route 115 from two to four lanes around the school campus.

There are also four campus intersection improvements. The largest of these is at the intersection with Pilgrim Way. A realignment is needed, along with a possible traffic signal.

The roundabout is a two-lane roundabout, which means that two lanes of traffic run around the circle, not one lane.

“An apparent low bidder came in at little over $18.4 million,” said Ron Young, district press officer for PennDOT District 5.

He said in the next 30 to 60 days PennDOT contract review team will take a look at the contract and make sure the bidder, Latona Trucking Inc. can meet all the requirements of the contract.

If the requirements are met, PennDOT will hold a preconstruction meeting with the contractor to go over things. Once everything is in place, PennDOT will give Latona Trucking Inc. the notice to proceed so the contractor can start work.

Latona Trucking Inc. can begin anytime after they receive the notice to proceed. It is up to the trucking company when they start after receiving the notice to proceed. “The project just has to be done by the completion date on the contract,” Young said.

A long history

Since 2018 when PennDOT announced the roundabout project, it faced pushback from Pleasant Valley School District and people in the surrounding community. They questioned the safety of constructing the pair of roundabouts, especially the Pleasant Valley Way roundabout.

“Data has proven these types of roundabouts will reduce crashes, especially T-Bone and head-on crashes,” Young said.

He referenced the one constructed in 2018 at Exit 310 off Interstate 80 in Delaware Water Gap Borough.

He said at first residents were against the roundabout, but now they realize not only does it make it safer, it actually makes it easier for drivers.

Statewide, PennDOT has already built 48 roundabouts, and is currently designing over 40 more.

In a 2019 report, PennDOT announced that crash reports have gone down significantly at 19 intersections where it replaced traditional stop signs or signals with roundabouts.

In preparation for the work, several businesses have relocated. DiMarco’s Bakery and Lyndee’s ice cream shop left the area. Subway relocated down the road. Rite Aid just relocated this month to a new building constructed on Route 115 near Marion Lane.

During construction

While the first two-lane roundabout is to be constructed and also while the second, more controversial traffic roundabout, is to be constructed at Pleasant Valley Way, Young said PennDOT will do everything possible to lessen the impact of the construction on high school traffic and to make sure everyone is safe.

“Once we talk with Latona Trucking Inc., we will have a target date for the finish of the roundabout, but I would say we are looking at three-season construction project,” Young said.

An aerial view of the intersection at routes 209 and 115 where one roundabout will be built. A second will be constructed on Route 209 by the Pleasant Valley High School. TIMES NEWS FILE PHOTO