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Clark, Lawrence Strausser, Donna

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What is the status of the widening project on Interstate 81?

Anyone who has traveled on Interstate 81 between Silver Spring Township and Hampden Township during the last year likely noticed a great deal of work being done on the highway.

In September 2016, crews began a widening project on both sides of the highway from exit 57 in Silver Spring Township to exit 59 in Hampden Township.

The project to widen the highway involves extending on-ramps to span between the exits to create three lanes in both northbound and southbound directions. It is expected to cost $19.5 million, according to PennDOT.

Work is expected to be completed by May.

As the winter months roll in and temperatures fall, work along the highway will slow and likely come to a temporarily halt until March, PennDOT said in a written statement.

On Sunday, workers began work including line painting along the highway that has resulted in daily lane closures.

Single-lane traffic is expected between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. daily for the rest of the week to allow this work to be completed, according to PennDOT.

“The contractor will start with the northbound traffic switch by first removing the barrier, milling a taper in the asphalt between the exiting interstate and the new widening ... and then eradicating the existing traffic lines and painting new lines,” PennDOT wrote in a news release. “Traffic will then be opened for the first time to its final configuration of three lanes in each direction.”

PennDOT said sporadic single-lane closures will still occur in both directions through the end of November and into December.

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Email Joshua Vaughn at jvaughn@cumberlink.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Sentinel_Vaughn.

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