PennDOT lays out plan for widening Route 68

PennDOT has unveiled its plan for the widening and realignment of State Route 68 between Dolby Street and Trout Run near the entrance to Dollar General. The actual construction work is expected to begin in 2024 with the road remaining open during the process. The cost of the work is expected be more than $6 million.

CLARION - PennDOT has unveiled preliminary plans for widening and realigning State Route 68 from Trout Run to Dolby Street.

PennDOT posted the plans online April 12 for public review and comment.

Project engineer Kurt J. Kretchman, PE., stressed the online plans are preliminary and the final impacts may change.

The $6.6 million project, slated to begin actual construction in 2024, will include the addition of a turning lane to the entire span of roadway and the replacement of the bridge at Trout Run.

PennDOT's stated goal for the work is to "increase mobility, accessibility, quality of life and safety for pedestrians, vehicular traffic and the surrounding area."

Traffic flow along the roadway a main artery into Clarion Borough will be maintained during the project except during short-term flagging operations and potential short-term night/weekend detours.

Trout Run is the waterway near the entrance to Dollar General and the former Comet Food Warehouse plaza.

The existing bridge structure consists of an approximately 11-feet long reinforced concrete slab that will be replaced with a concrete box culvert with a proposed curb-to-curb width of 41-feet, 4-inches.

When finished, the State Route 68 corridor between Clarion and the Clarion Mall will consist of three 12-feetwide travel lanes (one lane in each direction and a center turning lane) with two two-feet, 8-inch wide shoulders with curb gutters.

Additional work to be completed will include guide rail updates, drainage improvements and utility relocations.

Kretchman told the CLARION NEWS the schedule for relocating utilities will be announced at a later date.

According to the plans, the project will affect about 50 different properties. PennDOT anticipates some property displacements, however, those displacements are not identified in the public plans.

"At the current time several homes may be affected by displacements," Kretchman said in an email exchange with the CLARION NEWS.

Beginning near Dolby Street near Aldi's, the widening work will draw property from mainly both sides of the road toward Clarion.

Near Clarion Animal Hospital, the widening shifts mostly to the east side of the roadway.

Traveling past Computer Support, including extensive drainage work at Water Run Road, the widening continues on the eastern side of the road but then begins to shift to the western side of the road, with potential impacts to homes near Oakwood Acres Lane.

Past the former law office of Ralph L.S. Montana, the widening work remains mostly on the west side of the roadway to the Trout Run Bridge.

PennDOT invites public comment and questions concerning the project by accessing http://www.PennDOT.gov/District10 the clicking on the Public Meetings/Studies link under the District Links heading, click the Clarion County box, and then choose PA 68 Dolby Street to Trout Run Project tile.

Concerns and questions also can be directed to project manager Kurt J. Kretchman, PE., at 724-357-4804 or by email at: kkretchman@pa.gov

Comments and questions must be received by April 30.

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