DYBERRY TOWNSHIP — Secretary Leslie S. Richards of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and several other local and state officials visited the Wayne County Fair grounds Monday morning to announce the onset of the 2018 road construction season.

“We're excited for this construction season that we're kicking off right now,” said the secretary.

Statewide, Richards announced more than 1,700 construction projects either commencing or going out for bid this year.”

These are the results of the continued transportation investments. We recognize how important they are to our economy here as well as the quality of life for those who live and work in this area,” said Richards.

Just within District 4 – consisting of Wayne, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, and Wyoming counties – more than $464 million in anticipated 2018 road projects.

These include improvements to 83 bridges, over 600 miles of roadway and 46 miscellaneous safety improvement projects, explained District 4 Executive George Roberts.

According to the PennDOT construction plan map, Wayne County looks to receive over 130 miles of roadway improvements, seven bridge projects and six slide repairs.

A more specific breakdown of anticipated work in Wayne County will be presented at the upcoming Consumer Advisory Board (CAB) meeting.

“All of our work is really asset management improvement, trying to make sure that we take care of our roads and bridges, especially after coming out of this harsh winter,” he said.

Richard announced on Monday the expansion of the Recycled Asphalt Paving (RAP) program into Wayne County.

Utilizing recycled millings from roadways, the RAP combines the old asphalt with oil and uses the mixture to pave lower-traffic roadways at a reduced cost.

According to Roberts, the RAP mixture is laid on four inches thick and costs roughly a third of what it takes to pour a track of virgin asphalt.

“It's about $90,000 a mile, roughly, to be able to use this,” estimated Roberts, noting there is some variance to this figure.

“We're up over $300,000 per mile with virgin material,” he added.

Roberts stated the RAP program has only been in use for five years in other areas, so long-term durability is yet uncertain.

But, “The material so far seems to be just as durable as virgin material,” he said.

During the offseason, the Wayne County Fair grounds will host the location for PennDOT equipment to grind and mix the materials.

Also speaking that day, Representative Mike Peifer (R-139, Wayne/Pike) noted the millings were collected from Interstate 84 when it was torn up for rebuilding.

Joining Peifer in welcoming Secretary Richards to Wayne County were Representative Jonathan Fritz (R-111 Wayne/Susquehanna), Andrew Seder from Senator Lisa Baker's (R-20) office, and Wayne County Commissioners Wendell Kay and Joseph Adams.

While construction season is underway, PennDOT reminds all motorists to drive safely, especially through work zones.

Construction and other roadway condition information is available online at www.511pa.gov and www.penndot.gov.