Route 199 reconstruction project to begin next week

Cars travel down State Route 199 in Sayre on Thursday afternoon.

SAYRE — The long-awaited and somewhat controversial State Route 199 reconstruction project began back in September.

The 2.6-mile project is located just north of the intersection with Front Street in Athens Borough to the intersection with Interstate 86/New York 17 at the New York state line in Sayre Borough.

The project has been a major topic of conversation in the Valley for more than a year, especially when it comes to how it will affect some businesses on Keystone Avenue in Sayre.

The plans for the project include widening the roadway on parts of Keystone Ave., which will in turn eliminate parking for businesses like Original Italian Pizza.

At a Sayre Borough Council meeting last August, OIP owner John Amato said the project would take his parking from 25 spots to just eight.

“When they originally started the plans, they started with (taking out) two spots on the end of my property on Hayden Street,” Amato said at the meeting last August. “And I was fine. I was like ‘OK, I can deal with that.’ And then they came to me one day, with no explanation, ‘we’re taking the whole front.’”

Another business that will be affected is Clare Printing, which would lose 11 of its parking spots. The company is scheduled to get five parallel parking spots in place of the current parking spots.

PennDOT responded to an inquiry from the Morning Times on this issue in September.

“The current design plan will eliminate approximately eight parking spaces, which are located in PennDOT’s right-of-way and are unpermitted,” a PennDOT official said. “The current parking spaces are unsafe, allowing vehicles to back-up into thru-traffic. As part of the reconstruction, PennDOT will be widening the roadway to accommodate new parallel parking spaces in front of local businesses as well as widening the roadway near the triangle and adding additional parallel parking spaces in this location as well.”

The project, which is projected to last four years, began at the New York state line and will work south.

Work includes drainage improvements, utility relocation, sidewalk and curb improvements, ADA curb ramp installations, traffic signal upgrades, driveway adjustments, signing and pavement markings and other miscellaneous construction.

Kriger Construction, Inc. is the primary contractor on the $16.5 million, four-year roadway reconstruction project. The project is expected to be completed in the fall of 2024.

According to PennDOT, work on this project will be in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and state Department of Health guidance as well as a project-specific COVID-19 safety plan, which will include protocols for social distancing, use of face coverings, personal and job-site cleaning protocols, management of entries to the jobsite, and relevant training.

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Pat McDonald can be reached at (570) 888-9643 ext. 228 or Follow Managing Editor Pat McDonald on Twitter @PatMcDonaldMT.

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