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PennDOT plans big changes for West Shore Bypass in Berks

By Jennifer Joas, Reporter, JJoas@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 21 2014 04:36:19 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 21 2014 05:08:58 PM CDT

More than 78,000 vehicles travel the West Shore Bypass -- Route 422 -- between the Warren Street Bypass -- Route 12 -- in Reading and Exeter Township every day.

READING, Pa. -

More than 78,000 vehicles travel the West Shore Bypass -- Route 422 -- between the Warren Street Bypass -- Route 12 -- in Reading and Exeter Township every day.

PennDOT said that is one of the reasons it is planning a major overhaul in the years to come.

"It would be upgrading the bypass to handle the congestion issues as well as the safety issues which are also a factor," said Ron Young, with PennDOT.

The $650 million project would widen Route 422, add an additional lane to both sides between the Warren Street Bypass and Lancaster Avenue, upgrade the bridges and redesign the ramps to give people more time to safely merge with traffic.  

For Mylen Ruppert, who merges on and off the bypass at Lancaster Avenue every day, it is a relief.  

"I think it is a wonderful idea that they are fixing it and trying to improve on safety, definitely, because I have lived here quite a few years and seen a lot of accidents especially right there merging," said Mylen Ruppert, of Reading.

The construction phase of the project could take eight to 10 years, but PennDOT said it is necessary because it is going to try and keep all lanes open during the construction phase.

"Taking a lane out 24/7 on this roadway really is not an option with the volume of traffic that is on it. So we need designers to develop a plan where they can keep two lanes of traffic open the majority of the time," said Young.

Other drivers hope the eight- to 10-year construction phase will be worth it in the end.

"On 183 there, that took a while too but now it is moving good," said Gregory Pingitore, of Spring Township.

PennDOT said to stay tuned because these are all just preliminary plans. Construction would not begin for another two to four years.