MIDDLETOWN — The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission advises motorists traveling on Interstate 76 to be prepared for nighttime single-lane patterns and two-way traffic in the eastbound lanes of the Tuscarora Tunnel starting Tuesday at 8 p.m.
From Tuesday through Friday, crews will implement nightly traffic stoppages of no more than 15 minutes in both directions to establish a crossover pattern, directing all traffic into the eastbound tunnel.
By 8 p.m. each night, the westbound tunnel will be closed and all traffic diverted into the eastbound tunnel until 9 a.m., when the patterns are lifted.
The following week, weekly nighttime crossovers will begin Sunday, lasting to to Friday, Dec. 13 at 9 a.m. This will occur at night each week — Sunday to Friday from 8 p.m. to 9 a.m. — through January, the Turnpike Commission says.
All traffic in both directions will merge into one lane approaching the tunnel, with a 40 mile per hour speed limit. Message boards will be activated to update motorists of any changes to the schedule caused by inclement weather or unforeseen traffic conditions.
The Tuscarora Tunnel is located on I-76 at mileposts 186 and 187 between the Fort Littleton Interchange and the Willow Hill Interchange on the Huntingdon County and Franklin County line.
The crossovers are necessary as part of a four-year, $109 million project to improve and modernize the Tuscarora Tunnel. Some of the major tasks to be completed include the removal of ceiling slabs, a new ventilation system, new membrane waterproofing, replacement of walkways, barriers and drainage system in the eastbound tunnel.
The westbound tunnel will include the replacement of the drainage system, and both tunnels will receive electrical and mechanical upgrades as well as new lighting and electronic systems. The eastbound tube opened in 1940 and the westbound tube opened in 1968. The two tunnels were last renovated in the 1980s.
Motorists traveling on I-76 should stay alert and turn on headlights when entering the tunnel, the Turnpike Commission said.