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About the Project

Section 1 is approximately 4.5 miles and extends from the intersection of Route 981 and Route 819, just north of Mount Pleasant Borough, and ends near the intersection of Route 981 and Route 2023 in Norvelt, Mount Pleasant Township. Section 1 primarily follows Route 981 with some offline shifts to improve the roadway. This section is now in the Final Design phase of project development.

Anticipated Schedule

Preliminary Engineering:  2019

Final Design:  2020

Construction:  2021-2023

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Developing the Selected Alternative

An analysis conducted during preliminary engineering examined two proposed design options for an approximately one-mile portion of Section Q20, just north of the PA Turnpike to just south of Walton’s Lane.

The two proposed design options were:

  • Online Option: Primarily follows the existing Route 981 alignment and includes widening the roadway and improvements to substandard geometric features.
  • Offline Option: Diverges from the existing Route 981 alignment north of the PA Turnpike to the west for approximately 1 mile, about 1,000 feet to the west of existing Route 981.

Each option was evaluated on the following performance measures: property, environmental and utility impacts, safety, constructability, maintaining traffic during construction, and cost considerations.

Considering the above performance measures, the Offline Option was preferred. When comparing the two options, the Offline Option would have a lower construction cost and fewer property impacts. Because the new roadway will be built offline, interruptions to existing Route 981 traffic and residents/businesses within this section of the project will be minimal during construction.

A minivan travels along sr 981

Learn More...

As part of Preliminary Engineering, the Design Team refined the Preferred Option to establish the final line and grade. Some refinements are as follows: 

  • Adjustments to minimize impacts to areas with a high potential for hazardous waste 
  • Accommodations for driveway connections during construction and for final driveway connections to the new roadway 
  • Adjustments to better accommodate roundabouts for Route 981 and connecting roadways 
  • Drainage and stormwater improvements
  • Reduced impacts to properties and sensitive environmental features 
  • Connections to intersecting state and local roadways as well as existing Route 981 (within the off-alignment area)

    Traffic and safety data figured heavily in the determination of preferred intersection treatments, including the three locations where roundabouts are identified: Route 981/Route 819; Route 981/Route 2007; Route 981/Route 2021/Route 2027 (Norvelt). Visit the Roundabouts page to learn more about why they were selected for these intersections.

    "The purpose of Preliminary Engineering is to set line, grade, and width." This essentially means that the horizontal and vertical geometry and roadway typical section is approved during the Preliminary Engineering phase. Environmental review and approval also occur during the Preliminary Engineering phase. Preliminary Engineering is complete and environmental clearance was obtained in November 2019. The project is now in the Final Design phase.

    During Final Design, the selected alignment that was developed during Preliminary Engineering is further refined for construction. Also during this phase, tasks such as Right-of-Way acquisition, utility coordination, and environmental permitting are performed.