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Tobash Announces Finalization of PennDOT’s State Route 61 Widening Project and a New Statewide Pilot Program
5/3/2013

HARRISBURG – Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuylkill/Berks) was joined today at a press conference by Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch and other state and local officials in Schuylkill Haven Borough to announce the finalized plans for the State Route 61 Widening Project and to introduce a new statewide pilot program.

The State Route 61 Widening Project through Schuylkill Haven Borough is designed to improve traffic flow through the area. It will affect approximately 1.28 miles of road, spanning between State Route 183 and the Penn State Schuylkill campus. The road will be widened and four lanes will be constructed, including left-turn lanes. The widening of the road will also necessitate a number of upgrades to borough utilities, including water, sewer and electric. A state-of-the-art traffic signal modernization device is also scheduled to be installed.

 “I was happy to play a lead role in bringing this project, that looked like it could once again be halted, to finalization,” said Tobash. “I thank the citizens of Schuylkill Haven and the entire county. This project will undoubtedly cause some inconveniences until it’s completed; however, once Route 61 through Schuylkill Haven is widened, it will be a benefit for our residents and everyone who travels through the county.”

“This project is designed to make a number of improvements to a busy and highly traveled area of Schuylkill Haven,” said Sen. Dave Argall (R-29). “Improving our roads and keeping motorists safe while they’re using our roads is a core function of state government.”

“I am excited that the improvements to Route 61 sought by the residents of Schuylkill Haven and our county are now moving forward,” said Schuylkill County Commissioner George F. Halcovage. “This segment of Route 61 has been a concern for years. Improving safety and reducing congestion along this stretch of the highway will improve the quality of life for all who use this much-traveled road. My hat goes off to all who have helped to make this project a reality.”

“The State Route 61 Widening Project has been in the planning-and-design stages for a number of years,” said Schuylkill Haven Borough Administrator Scott Graver. “The end results will include new roadway, curbs, sidewalks, traffic signals and a complete upgrade to utilities through this portion of Schuylkill Haven.”

“I recognize the need for projects like this that will be beneficial to all of Schuylkill and northern Berks counties, and I thank Representative Tobash for his leadership on this project,” said Rep. Jerry Knowles (R-Berks/Schuylkill). “Getting House Bill 220, a bill that I am sponsoring that dedicates each and every penny from privatizing the Liquor Control Board to fixing our roads and bridges, passed would allow us to move forward with similar construction projects that will benefit entire regions of the Commonwealth.”

“I have been involved with this project from the beginning, and I’m happy to see that it’s all coming together,” said William Hanley, senior economic development specialist to Congressman Matt Cartwright (D-17). “A $9.2 million earmark for funding this project was instituted by former Congressman Tim Holden, after many discussions with Schuylkill Haven officials to alleviate traffic congestion back in the 1990s.”

Friday’s announcement also included details on a new statewide pilot program that is associated with this project, affecting the amount and terms under which PennDOT will reimburse municipalities for moving utilities affected by road projects.

For more information on this press conference or any other state-related issue, visit RepTobash.com  or Facebook.com/RepTobash or call his office in Schuylkill Haven at (570) 385-8235. 

Representative Mike Tobash
125th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Krisinda Corbin
717.705.2032
kcorbin@pahousegop.com
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