Those waiting for the completion of the Route 13 reconstruction will have to be a little more patient.
The completion date for the project, which originally started in early 2013, has again been pushed back from July 1 to Oct. 10, according to PennDOT officials.
The official message cited “unforeseen conditions encountered during the past two construction seasons that have negatively impacted the project schedule,” as reason for the delay.
According to PennDOT representative Charlie Metzger, unreliable utility markings on PennDOT maps caused complications in the reconstruction.
“The things that were supposed to be there weren’t,” he said, including water mains, storm sewers, conduits, traffic cables and other utilities buried underground. “We had to first find all of these things and reconnect them to where they were supposed to be.”
These problems extend from the age of the road and its lack of maintenance or reconstruction over time.
In light of this difficulty, James D. Morrissey Inc., the contractor for the project, negotiated the extended completion date. The recent snowstorm did not contribute to this delay.
“We’re still around the contractual price,” Metzger said, implying that the project should not exceed its original budget of over $36 million. “[The contractor] just couldn’t make it, so he asked for an extension of time.”
The original purpose of the project was to “enhance travel and safety” by rehabilitating the roadway’s pavement; replacing drainage facilities built in the 1940s; building sidewalks for pedestrians; installing medians; modernizing traffic signals; removing jug handles; narrowing the roadway’s six-lane section to four lanes to reduce travel speeds; implementing traffic calming measures; and other goals, according to the original project announcement from PennDOT in January 2013.
Work was originally expected to be completed in 18 months and is now into its third year.
Currently, most of the work has been completed on the northern portion of the 4.3-mile project area, north of Green Lane to Levittown Parkway. On the southern section, from Green Lane to Route 413, work is ongoing. The right lanes and shoulders have been reconstructed there as well as new curbs and sidewalks. Traffic has always been directed onto the reconstructed right lanes in both directions to allow the start of the reconstruction of the left lanes and installation of a grass median.
At this point, Metzger said, there is no reason to anticipate any more major delays in the reconstruction, and the project should be complete in October this year.