LEBANON COUNTY -- The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced a new plan to fix the sinkhole problem plaguing a section of U.S. 422 near the Palmyra Borough in North Londonderry Township, Lebanon County.
But the new plan will ensure that the road remains closed through November, PennDOT says.
Since the beginning of July, PennDOT says, geotechnical and structural engineers have assessed the site and ground conditions and have completed a design for a concrete slab to cover the eastbound and westbound section of U.S. 422.
Starting next week, a contractor will begin installing 84 steel columns -- called micropiles -- into the rock bed below the surface to support the slab. Excavation work is set to begin on July 29, with the micropile work beginning on August 5.
Fritzi Schreffler, a spokesperson for PennDOT said it's the best solution they have, given the conditions of the road.
“There is no such thing as a permanent fix to this area. Anybody who lives in this area or travels in this area realizes it’s limestone and water that’s underneath. There’s only so much we can do,” said Schreffler.
Previously, PennDOT said it anticipated the road would re-open by the start of the upcoming school year. But the new repair project will require the road to remain closed until late November, PennDOT says.
“We’re doing the best that we can do given the conditions we have to work with and we’re really just asking for patience. I mean, if we could get it open earlier, we certainly will,” said Schreffler.
Traffic will continue to be detoured along Route 117 to U.S. 322 to Route 934, then back to U.S. 422, according to PennDOT.
Drivers are asked to stick to the official detour, because local roads in the area are not designed to handle the volume of traffic that typically uses U.S. 422.
While Apple Blossom Lane is not part of the official detour, PennDOT says, adjustments have been made to the traffic signals where it intersects with U.S. 422 to accommodate local traffic.