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Whitehall Rd., Near Penn State, Receives Upgrades

Wed July 18, 2012 - Northeast Edition
Jennifer Rupp

Just a few miles from Penn State University in State College, Pa., HRI Inc. is paving the way to smoother, safer travel.

Route 3018 (Whitehall Rd./University Drive) is undergoing 3-mi. (4.8 km) of roadway widening, with an additional turning lane, new traffic signals and drainage improvements.

The project began in March of this year and will be complete by fall 2013. State College-native HRI was awarded the $10.3 million contract and is self-performing the earthwork, drainage, construction of new roadway, paving and water line relocation.

The 3-mi. stretch between Route 26 and Atherton Street is highly congested with traffic to the University and local businesses. The new design will make travel smoother and more efficient. In addition, the wider shoulders on both sides of the road will provide safer bicycle travel.

“We’ve been able to keep both lanes open most of the time,” said Denny Eisenhauer, project manager of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).

As the project progresses, crews may shut one lane down and use flaggers, as necessary. According to the contract, however, traffic may not be stopped between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

For now, HRI is running one shift from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., though the company plans to request permission from State College to carry out night paving in the future.

Kuharchik Construction Inc. of Exeter is performing the signal work. The company is replacing signals at three intersections with updated equipment and installing new signals at two intersections that did not previously have lights.

Green Acres Contracting, headquartered in Scottdale, is installing guiderail and D.W. Miller Inc. of Huntingdon was subcontracted to place raised pavement markers. Thomas Timberland Enterprises Inc., based in Pleasant Gap, is in charge of tree removal, and Green Valley Landscaping of Wilkes-Barre will do the seeding.

This area of Centre County is known for its limestone deposits, so dealing with such on a road construction project is to be expected. Crews were prepared for the limestone during excavation and for the possible sinkholes that may occur.

The project was originally slated to end at the intersection of Route 3018 and Atherton Rd. Upon closer inspection of the intersection, it was decided that paving through the intersection would provide a smoother transition. This additional work will add approximately $60,000 to $70,000 to the grand total.

HRI excavated approximately 51,000 cu. yds. (38,992 cu m) of balanced earthwork using a Caterpillar D6T XL dozed rented from Cleveland Brothers in State College, and a Komatsu PC 228 rented from Mid Atlantic Machinery in Harrisburg.

HRI is using a Caterpillar CS56 sheepsfoot roller for building and compacting embankments. It also is employing a Vermeer 655 trencher, a Komatsu PC38 excavator, a Caterpillar 14G grader and a Volvo L60F wheel loader.

In the latest update from PennDOT, crews are working on installation of pavement base drain and sub-base grading on the left side from the Campbell Road intersection to the Atherton Street intersection, while simultaneously placing the curb and sidewalk.

Excavation and embankment placement has begun from Research Drive to Blue Course Drive and utility contractors are performing aerial and underground relocation work throughout the project.

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