When the tens of thousands of motorcycles and other vehicles roar into town next week they will find closed bridges, roadways and some detours.
Much of the inconvenience will be the result of long overdue PennDOT projects and, of lesser impact, the sewer upgrades in progress through some parts of the city.
The construction projects and detours are things the Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Convention and Visitors Bureau has been watching and attempting to address, said Lisa Rager, executive director.
“We’re going to put information on our website and social media pages,” Rager said. “It’s something that is unavoidable.”
Most impacted will be areas in the West End and the Frankstown Road area, said PennDOT spokesman Anthony Scalia. He said there is not a lot PennDOT can do to minimize the inconvenience.
“Because the projects are already started, the work will continue as planned,” he said. “We realize it’s an inconvenience, but it will be for a lasting fix.”
Areas most impacted are:
• Strayer Street improvements.
• Fairfield Avenue resurfacing to routes 56 and 403.
• Broad Street.
• Frankstown Road wall construction and road resurfacing from Adams Street to Vogel Street.
• Hickory Street Bridge.
While the ongoing construction of wastewater collection lines continues, the impact on the visitors and the Thunder weekend should be minimal, said Darby Sprincz, Johnstown’s public works director.
“Most of it is residential areas,” he said.
Contractors, as of Monday, were working in the Roxbury and 8th Ward areas, he said.
Calling a halt to the work is not being considered because of tight contracts under which the utility company workers are operating.
“They have a specific amount of days to get the work done,” Sprincz said.
At this point, the only day that crews will be working on the system during the Thunder weekend is the first day, Thursday. If past practice holds true, they will not be working Friday, Sprincz said.
Meanwhile, PennDOT is asking everyone to allow for extra time, especially because of the detour around the Hickory Street Bridge project and other projects where traffic stops are controlled by a highway flag team.
Rager said her staff will continue to do all they can to get the word out, especially to the entertainment groups that sometimes run on tight schedules.
“We’re telling people that there is a lot of construction going on,” she said. “They need to allow for extra time and be patient traveling through the construction areas.”
Kathy Mellott covers transportation issues for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/kathy mellotttd.