Improvements slated for Rt. 248
Crew work to repair damage to a concrete retaining wall along Route 248 in Lower Towamensing Township.
A project to improve Route 248 is planned, with construction work anticipated to be placed out for bids possibly by later next year.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Allentown-based region announced on Tuesday that design work will begin soon to improve Route 248 (POW/MIA Remembrance Highway) in East Penn, Franklin and Lower Towamensing townships, and Bowmanstown, Palmerton and Parryville boroughs.
“This roadway is used by thousands of motorists each day, and PennDOT engineers will now be able to begin designing improvements for this corridor,” Gov. Tom Wolf said. “Once design work is complete, the contracting community will repair the roadway.”
The Carbon County section of Route 248 runs between Route 209 and the Northampton County line. The road needs work to repair the road base, riding surface, median barriers, and to improve fencing on a mountainside rock slope.
“This highway has been on our radar for improvements for some time, and we are excited to move ahead with rehabilitation plans,” PennDOT District 5 Executive Mike Rebert said. “We appreciate the public’s patience as we move forward.”
Engineers will soon begin designing plans to rehabilitate the roadway and update fencing along the rock slope. The $1 million in engineering work is expected to last 18 to 24 months, with construction work anticipated to be placed out for bids in late 2020 or early 2021.
Ron Young, PennDOT spokesman, said the design work is “work to determine the needs, or scope, of the rehabilitation work. Preliminary engineering is beginning and is an early phase of a project.”
Young said the intent of the design work is to “determine the best way to rehabilitate the section of Route 248 in Carbon County. The plan is to repair the road base, riding surface, median barriers, and improve fencing on a mountainside rock slope.”
Young said there are no anticipated detours as the result of the project.
“The traffic control plan will be determined in final design, at which time engineers will determine what, if any, lane restrictions are necessary,” he said.
Young said the work that’s currently underway to repair damage to a concrete retaining wall along Route 248 in Lower Towamensing Township should be completed by the time this project begins construction.
“As a daily commuter, I am well aware of the poor condition of Route 248 and share the concerns of local residents who have called our office to complain,” said Rep. Doyle Heffley, R-Carbon.
“We are excited that PennDOT is moving this project up on the schedule, releasing the critical funds needed to start the engineering study with planned construction to start in 2021. These improvements to one of Carbon County’s major highway corridors is a priority, and I’m anxious for this project to start as soon as possible.”
Heffley said the project was originally slated for 2025.
“I’m happy that the administration of PennDOT has prioritized this and moved it ahead,” Heffley said. “I’m certainly very anxious to get this project moving as soon as possible; the sooner the better to get this long overdue project moving.”
Heffley said he has had numerous conversations with the secretary and administration about this project.
“I’m happy that the money is being allocated now and we’re going to get this project bumped up by more than four to five years by PennDOT, and certainly it is much needed,” he said.
Heffley noted that plans are still on target for the Route 443 project and Route 209 project at the Mansion House.
“We’ll be working with PennDOT on traffic control,” he said. “There will be inconveniences, but we will try to make them as minimal as possible.”
This section of Route 248 was first constructed in 1962 and received a major resurfacing in 1999. Smaller sections received minor resurfacing in 2012 and 2014. The average daily traffic volume on Route 248 in Carbon County varies between 18,813 and 22,161 vehicles.
“I commend Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary Leslie Richards for working with our District 5-0 PennDOT staff to expedite the construction schedule on the Route 248 project,” said state Sen. John Yudichak, D-Carbon/Luzerne.
“Investments in Carbon County’s transportation infrastructure will benefit traffic safety, improve commuter travel, and be a significant boost to our local economy.”
Bill Richards, deputy chief of staff for Yudichak, said this morning that the senator is “very happy about the movement forward.”
“It’s in such deplorable condition,” Richards said, adding that he believes the reason why the project has been moved ahead is due to “the desperate need of that repair and replacement.”
For more information on projects occurring or being bid this year, made possible by or accelerated by the state transportation funding plan (Act 89), or those on the department’s Four and Twelve Year Plans, visit www.projects.penndot.gov.