A much-anticipated reconstruction project in Venango County got underway this spring.
The $33 million project to reconstruct the four-lane portion of Route 8 initially started in March with repairs to the detour route. The statewide construction halt meant a pause in the project until increased health and safety protocol could be established.
Work resumed with the first wave of critical project restart approvals. Route 8 serves as a main connection between rural Venango County and Interstate 80.
The two-year project includes reconstructing the roadway and rehabilitating several bridges along the route through Sandycreek, Irwin and Victory townships, Venango County. During the 2020 construction season, work will concentrate on approximately 12 miles of the northbound lanes. In the 2021 construction season, the southbound lanes will be reconstructed.
Since the early design phases, the project has garnered a lot of attention from the local leadership and the community. The first of two public meetings drew a large crowd of nearly 300 and featured a public comment portion that lasted over an hour. A general consensus among the attendees was the desire to keep the roadway in its current configuration as an interstate lookalike.
As part of the work restart, the Route 8 project was selected as a location to test the ability to use drones to assist with construction inspection duties. District 1 drone pilot Travis Myers conducted a flight over a portion of the northbound work area and captured images of ongoing drainage work. Additional flights of the work area are being considered for activities scheduled throughout the summer.
Information on the project is available online at www.penndot.gov/district1 by clicking on the Construction Projects/Roadway link under the Resources heading, picking the Venango County box then choosing the Route 8 Reconstruction Project tile.