Study projects widening I-81 will be costly

There are 5 comments on the story from Aug 11, 2007, titled Study projects widening I-81 will be costly. In it, reports that:

“It proves in numbers our future needs in this corridor”

The road to improving Interstate 81 is paved with inflation. Widening the highway from two to three lanes in each direction between the Waverly and Nanticoke exits would cost $1.09 billion, a study released ... via

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Absecon, NJ

#1 Aug 13, 2007
Why not build a light rail line on the I-81 median between Syracuse and Harrisburg?

The line can run between the Amtrak stations in both cities. It can have major stops in Binghamton, Scranton,Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport, Wilkes-Barre and Hazelton. There can be additional stops in Clarks Summit, Viewmont Mall, Dunmore, Nanticoke.
Homer Formby

Hamburg, NJ

#2 Aug 14, 2007
Why? For commuters? In that case, you could make a case for the Wilkes-Sarre to Scranton run - an update of the old Laurel Line - and maybe stretch it to a Hazleton to Scranton line, with stops in Mountain Top, Wilkes-Barre, the airport at Avoca, somewhere halfway from AVP to Scranton, and a terminus in downtown Scranton. Too many stops, however, and boardings will take so long people will prefer to drive.

I live in Mountain Top, and would love to be able to hop on a train here, but if you want to run an efficient - and hopefully, profitable - railroad, the stops would need to be in Hazleton, Wilkes-Barre (at the misleadingly named "Mountain Top" exit, which is actually in Wilkes-Barre Township), and Scranton. There are large open areas near the Hazleton and "Mountain Top" exits of I-81 that would have to be turned into parking, and people would have to be told to expect to drive several miles to a station. After all, if you live in Nanticoke and drive a few miles to Hazleton, that's still much better than Nanticoke to Scranton every day. Of course, Scranton's public transport system would face a huge challenge, but we're assuming all kinds of money will be thrown at this particular project, so more buses, kitneys, and taxi competition would be a given.

I'm not sure what a line between Hazleton and Harrisburg, or Scranton and Syracuse would do besides bleed money. Were you thinking of a train of the type where your car is loaded on a flatcar and offloaded at the end of your ride? I don't know if there would be enough traffic to support that kind of project.

One other thing: traditionally, commuter rail projects have lost money, while cargo operations turn a profit. However, given the astronomical prices for road construction and the higher prices we now pay for gas, this kind of commuter rail project might now be affordable.
Homer Formby

Hamburg, NJ

#3 Aug 14, 2007
Oops ... in my previous post, paragraph 3, sub 'jitneys' for kitneys'. The point is, Scranton is not currently set up to handle either the many cars parked near the station by southbound commuters, or the need for transport to work sites by northbound commuters exiting trains. I'm not sure where you'd actually site a Scranton terminus, either.

New Hartford, NY

#4 Aug 9, 2009
There's an existing rail line which could be used, parallel to I-81, from Syracuse through Cortland to Binghamton, then to Scranton, then Wilkes-Barre, and via Sunbury, to Harrisburg. With nice locations for downtown stations, mind you.

This should make a commuter-rail project much more feasible than if you had to build a brand new line.

In fact, there's a current scheme to run trains from Scranton to New York City via the Delaware Water Gap.(It requires rebuilding some rail in New Jersey called the "Lackawanna Cutoff".) A coalition has been pushing to study an extension from Scranton to Binghamton on the existing line, and a few people have been pushing to study the extension from Binghamton to Cortland and Syracuse.

The Delaware Water Gap route would also allow for service from Scranton to Philadelphia with a little work around Allentown/Bethelehem and Phillipsburg.... and that would probably be more popular than Harrisburg service (I think the NE extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike gets more traffic than I-81).
Tom Drury

Hampstead, NC

#5 Aug 14, 2009
1.09 BILLION dollars?

thats insane
what a waste of money

sounds like a mafia contract union job to me

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