PennDOT to Close Westbound U.S. 22/322 in Perry County for Two Weeks to Address Rock Slope Area Near Newport
Harrisburg, PA– The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation(PennDOT) announced today that starting at 7:00 AM on Monday, March 18, weather permitting, its contractor will close the westbound lanes of U.S. 22/322 and implement a two-week detour to address an area of concern for falling rock near Newport Borough at the Howe-Greenwood Township Line in Perry County.
During a routine inspection in early February, PennDOT engineers noticed that this location showed significant changes. After further evaluation, the engineers determined that recent weathering of the slope has left several large sandstone blocks with weakened support. Taking the current freeze-thaw cycle into consideration as well as groundwater seepage, there is concern that rocks or portions of the slope may fall onto the highway.
PennDOT has contracted with the J.D. Eckman, Inc., of Atglen, Chester County, to conduct the safety improvement project. The work involves removing loose rock from the cliff face along a 1,000-foot portion of westbound U.S. 22/322 one mile west of the exit for Route 34 and Newport. This portion of westbound U.S. 22/322 averages more than 10,600 vehicles traveled daily.
PennDOT advises motorists that westbound U.S. 22/322 will be closed to through traffic starting March 18 for up to two weeks while the unstable rock is removed. Until then, a detour which follows southbound Route 34, West Shortcut Road and West Juniata Parkway will be available for motorists. In addition, variable message signs will be placed along westbound U.S. 22/322 approaching the Clarks Ferry Bridge, well before the Newport exit, encouraging larger vehicles and through traffic to use northbound U.S. 11/15 to Liverpool Borough, then westbound Route 17 to Millerstown Borough, and North Market Street back to U.S. 22/322 to avoid the closure.
For more information on projects occurring or being bid this year, those made possible by or accelerated by the state transportation funding plan (Act 89), or those on the department’s Four and Twelve Year Plans, visit www.projects.penndot.gov.