Developers Moving Forward with Potters Mill Gap Project

By Ali Ingersoll

Published 05/07 2014 11:14PM

Updated 05/07 2014 11:40PM

PennDOT is moving forward with plans to fix a dangerous section of highway along route 322. Developers held the first hearing about the environmental impact of the Potters Mills Gap Project.

Developers say the impact is primarily on some wetlands, farmland and would affect some bats. They say residents are working with them to move forward with this nearly 4 mile long project.

"I've traveled this basically every day for the past 25 years," says Robert Kearns, a supporter of the project.  "It's been backed up many times."

Kearns is among the many people who stopped by Centre Hall-Potter Elementary School to voice opinions on the plan. Project manager, Steve Fantechi, says the project cost $142 million.

"This project is a safety project, mobility and an access project," says Fantechi.

The new part of 322 will be four lanes wide. That concerns some people who live along the road.

"I think it'll just have them go faster because it'll be more lanes," says Dianne Struble, one of the residents living along the existing route. "I think it's going to create more problems because of all the businesses and stuff up through here."

The proposed project includes entrance and exit ramps to 322 - something residents like Kearns says it doesn't have now and he will benefit from.

Struble says there are major safety issues living along route and she thinks the project is necessary.

"A lot of times, you can't even get out on the highways; it's scary," says Struble.  "We've had accidents on our front yard."

Construction for the new route is set to start this fall and Fantechi says it should wrap up in 2019.  Developers are continuing to accept comments about the environmental assessment, as well as any other concerns with the project, until May 19th.

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