Ridgway, PA – A roadway project in Elk County could help reconnect people with nature.

Although the roadwork on Route 3002/Laurel Mills Road near Ridgway will help the road last longer, it’s also part of a multi-modal project.

It could make it easier for residents and visitors to reach sites for hiking, canoeing, swimming, and biking in the Allegheny National Forest and surrounding area.

This part of the project is expected to be completed by mid-July.

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The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced that a project has started on Route 3002 (Laurel Mills Road) near Ridgway, Elk County, that was made possible by a partnership among state agencies and municipal organizations.

The full depth restoration project started on May 28 and will prolong the life of the roadway while bringing convenient and improved accessibility to area recreational opportunities.

“Pennsylvania is blessed with beautiful outdoor recreational areas including many in Elk County, and I am always thrilled to see projects like this that improve our quality of life in such positive ways,” Governor Tom Wolf said. “This improvement project will make it easier for residents and visitors to reach sites for hiking, canoeing, swimming, and biking in the Allegheny National Forest and surrounding area.”

The project was made possible through a partnership among PennDOT staff and its Multimodal Program, the Allegheny National Forest, Spring Creek Township, Ridgway Township, and the North Central Regional Planning and Development Commission.

The area offers multiple outdoor recreation opportunities, including swimming at Sandy Beach and hiking, biking and canoeing through areas of the Allegheny National Forest. The popularity of these outdoor areas brought a sense of urgency to improving Laurel Mills Road.

Funding for the project includes $1.4 million of Eastern Federal Lands Access Funds, $520,000 from the two townships, $1.2 million from a PennDOT Multimodal Program grant, and $800,000 from PennDOT and the North Central Regional Planning Commission.

Overall work includes restoration of the deteriorated roadway, roadway widening, drainage improvements, guide rail replacement, pavement markings and miscellaneous construction.

The work zone begins about two miles west of Ridgway and continues for another seven miles toward the village of Hallton. Flaggers in the roadway are enforcing an alternating traffic pattern through most of the work zone.

A section of Laurel Run Road between Arroyo Road and the Irwin Run Bridge will be closed temporarily in July. PennDOT expects the closure to last from July 8 through 19 with traffic detoured onto Route 949 and Route 3001 (Belltown Road) before reconnecting with Route 3002. Local traffic will be able to use the closed section, allowing residents to access their homes. The closure will be lifted sooner than July 19 if work progress allows. PennDOT will issue a reminder about the closure and detour closer to the detour implementation date.

Grannas Brothers Stone & Asphalt Co., Inc. of Hollidaysburg, PA is the contractor for the $3.9 million job, which is expected to be completed by mid-August.

PennDOT reminds drivers to use caution in all work zones, obey posted speed limits, and always buckle up.

PennDOT encourages drivers to “Know before they go” and to check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA is free, available 24 hours a day, and provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and access to more than 860 traffic cameras.

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

Subscribe to PennDOT news in Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Juniata, McKean, Mifflin, and Potter counties at www.penndot.gov/District2. For regional updates on Twitter, follow www.twitter.com\511PAStateCOLL.