The final widening phase of PA Route 22 is entering the homestretch in Cambria County.
The project, worth $31.5 million, began in February 2004 with the goal of widening the two-lane state route to four lanes, including an eastbound truck-climbing lane. The first four-lane section of Route 22 was widened in 1961.
The 5.25-mi. (8.4 km) stretch of Route 22 runs between the Indiana County Line and Mundy’s Corner (SR 271 interchange).
In addition, a two-span pre-stressed concrete I-beam bridge is being placed, as well as a precast concrete box culvert. Highway lighting is being placed at all Cambria County Route 22 interchanges and jug handles.
The project also includes weather station and waterline relocation, new drainage, pavement markings, signage and guide rails. Completion of the project is expected by August 2007.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) determined that the route needed widening across the county so that it could accommodate the 10,000 motorists traveling on it daily. Route 22 runs for 23.6 mi. in Cambria County. The project is locally referred to as “Mundy’s Corner,” which is the name of the intersection at Routes 271 and 22.
The main contractor is New Enterprise Stone and Lime of New Enterprise, PA.
“We’re running one to two months ahead of schedule due to good weather during the winter of 2004/05. We were able to work on multiple phases simultaneously,” said Jamie Ickes, project manager of New Enterprise.
For excavation, New Enterprise is using a Hitachi 1800 backhoe, which Ickes estimated moves approximately 10,000 cu. yds. (7,645 cu m) of earth per shift. There are approximately 40 workers on site during the company’s 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. shift.
For the project, New Enterprise expected to excavate approximately 1,230,492 cu. yds. (940,779 cu m) of dirt.
“There is more cutting than filling on this project,” said PennDOT Project Manager Thomas Helsel, who estimated that an additional $200,000 in funds has been needed to pay for undercuts due to saturated clay.
“Extra money was spent on undercuts for subgrade stabilization, repair of existing Route 22 pavement due to deterioration, and the addition of dynamic message signing/closed-circuit television cameras to the project. These were the three major items so far,” he said.
A total of $500,000 in additional funds has been released by the state since the beginning of the project.
The current weather station will be relocated 328 ft. west on Route 22 near Dishong Mountain Road due to road widening on existing Route 22 to four lanes and the eastbound climbing lane. The new station will measure wind speed, air temperature and sub-surface temperature.
It also can sense liquid on the road and chemicals such as calcium and salt. The new station will be equipped with closed-circuit TV cameras that periodically take photos throughout the day.
“In 2004 we completed the majority of the utility relocations and demolitions throughout the project, along with Phase 1, which was work on the westbound lanes at the extreme western end of the project,” Helsel said.
“During the winter of 2005 and 2006 and throughout the rest of the project, highway lighting at the interchanges throughout Cambria County is being installed [except at Routes 219 and 164 which already have lighting], along with new signals at the Chickaree Hill/Mile Hill Road Intersection and Ford’s Corner/Whitetail Road Intersection,” Helsel added.
The Laurel Landfill, which experiences heavy truck traffic, will be provided with a blinking yellow light that is tripped when trucks exit the landfill, alerting cross-traffic on Route 22. Dixon Electric Inc. of Claysburg, PA, was subcontracted for the electric work.
Additional subcontractors on the job include Top Rate Construction of Mount Pleasant Mills, PA, which is working on drainage inlets, mountable curbs, and manholes; Plum Contracting Inc. of Pittsburgh, PA, which is in charge of water line relocation and pavement base drain; and Protection Services Inc. of Altoona, PA, for maintenance and protection of traffic, lane closings and construction signs.
The new precast concrete box culvert near the Ford’s Corner/Whitetail Road intersection was put into place in 2005, and crews are currently working on the two-span pre-stressed concrete I-beam bridge, which crosses over the intersection of Route 22 and Dishong Mountain Road.
The 228-ft. (69.4 m) long bridge is being erected to eliminate the preexisting condition of traffic heading westbound from crossing over two lanes.
Within the construction zone, one lane is open each way and 40 mph speed limit signs are posted. However, Helsel said that they’ve seen many motorists exceeding the speed limit and have called on the Pennsylvania State Police to enforce the limit at least once a week.
Three local township roads are currently detoured so that crews can complete work at the intersections. The roads are being realigned with Route 22 so traffic has been redirected for approximately a year. Detours should be open by mid-July. There also have been approximately 30 demolitions, mostly houses, to widen the highway and realign township roads.