September 27, 2021

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Roadwork will improve safety at SR 64 and SR 550 intersection

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The intersection of State Route 64 and 550 will undergo improvement work starting Monday.

The intersection of State Route 64 and 550 will undergo improvement work starting Monday.

Centre Daily Times, file

An intersection known for limited sight distance and a high crash rate will begin getting upgrades on Monday.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced that work to improve the State Route 64/Route 550 (Nittany Valley Drive/Zion Road) “Y” intersection in Walker Township will begin Monday.

The work zone is located about four and a half miles north of Pleasant Gap.

The $3.7 million construction project will “enhance safety” at the intersection, according to a PennDOT release. Roadway widening, roadway realignment and adding a turning lane are expected to do that.

In 2018, a senior transportation planner for Centre County told the Centre Daily Times that problems at the intersection included that it’s a Y, near businesses with open access, and drivers are traveling at high speeds with limited sight distance.

As of late November 2019, there were 26 crashes in the previous five years, according to PennDOT, a few of them fatal.

The layout of the intersection, speed and the business accesses are contributing factors in accidents that occur at the intersection, Marla Fannin, community relations coordinator and press officer for PennDOT, told the CDT in an email.

Fannin said some traveling south on Route 64 use their left turn signal to continue onto Route 64, which is not needed. If someone on Route 550 is entering onto Route 64 and sees that turn signal, they think the driver is turning into one of the businesses and they pull out.

“Some accidents were due to the lack of sight distance to the left for those pulling out of nearby the business accesses,” Fannin wrote. “To correct this situation we are making a 4-way signalized intersection where there is better sight distance and we will be installing a few curb islands for access management at the businesses.”

The project will also include paving, drainage improvements, new traffic signals and waterline relocation.

Traffic control will be in place and drivers will encounter 10-foot lane width restrictions, concrete barriers, temporary traffic signals, temporary paint lines, and channelizing devices in and around the work zone, according to PennDOT’s release.

The project is expected to last through August 2022.

Halie Kines reports on local government for the Centre Daily Times. She grew up in Penns Valley and graduated from Penn State.

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