PennDOT reduces 322 connector options to 3 | Center County Gazette

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BOALSBURG — And then there were three.

Recently, PennDOT narrowed the nine options to three for the State College Area Connector project, which will provide the “missing link” for US Route 322 as it enters Happy Valley.

The three preferred alternatives are all within the current Route 322 corridor in Potter and Harris Townships.

These exclude any Route 144 Corridor route that would have crossed Center Hall Mountain.

On October 19 and 20, PennDOT tentatively plans to hold two public meetings about the project at Mount Nittany Middle School in Boalsburg.

Efforts to connect Route 322 in Seven Mountains and southern Center County with a four-lane highway date back nearly two decades, but the project was abandoned in 2004 when funding was withdrawn.

In 2019, Governor Tom Wolf announced the state’s commitment to finally move the project forward, with an estimated cost of around $670 million.

With the completion of the four-lane realignment of US 322 at Potters Mills Gap last year, the connector would complete a four-lane freeway from the State College area to Harrisburg.

In April, public meetings were held to discuss the project planning and environmental linkages study and hear community feedback.

The original nine options – six in the current Route 322 corridor and three in the Route 144 corridor – have been narrowed down to the remaining three Route 322 options. These options have varying routes within the corridor.

According to information provided by PennDOT prior to the meeting, the total estimated cost of the project is between $432 million and $517 million. Options vary as each travels through the Route 322 corridor.

PennDOT studies concluded that all Route 322 options would reduce truck traffic on local road networks by 72% and total traffic on local roads by 53%, while Route 144 options would only reduce the truck traffic by 56% and total traffic by 43%.

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