South Water Street between Mill and West High streets in Bellefonte has been reduced to one-way traffic since a wall below the road partially collapsed on Nov. 12.
Work will begin next week on a temporary repair to a partially collapsed wall in Bellefonte that, when completed, will allow two-way traffic to resume on a section of South Water Street until a more permanent solution is put in place next year, PennDOT said on Wednesday.
South Water Street between Mill and West High streets — a main artery through Bellefonte — has been restricted to southbound traffic only through the northbound lane since Nov. 12, when part of the wall under the road along Spring Creek collapsed. Northbound traffic is being detoured to Stoney Batter and Route144/South Spring Street.
That traffic pattern will remain in place while work on the temporary fix occurs next week.
Beginning Monday, PennDOT Center County Maintenance will place temporary shoring and install a rock buttress for slope stabilization. Work is expected to be completed by the end of the week.
The road then will be open to two-way traffic until a more permanent repair takes place in the spring. The sidewalk, however, will remain closed until work is completed next year.
Damon Wagner, PennDOT District 2 assistant district executive for maintenance, said earlier this month that erosion below and behind the wall from high water in the creek caused the collapse.
“Once that material was taken out, the stone, the aggregate collapsed, causing the void,” he said.
Return of two-way traffic will be a welcome sight for Bellefonte. Not only will it likely reopen in time for the borough’s popular annual Victorian Christmas Dec. 9 -11, but it will also alleviate the daily headaches caused by the current one-way pattern, particularly during rush hour.
“It is an inconvenience, especially as traffic goes onto Stoney Batter and tries to get out at the intersection of State Route 144 and Stoney Batter. … That’s really the more difficult inconvenience that people are facing,” Borough Manager Ralph Stewart said.