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2009 State College Meet

Today was the second meet in Happy Valley but unlike the first edition, Mother Nature gave us a rain-free day.  I’d like to thank all who attended and for making the trip for the 2009 State College Meet.

The meet began at 12 PM at Hoss’s Steak & Sea on Business US 322 (North Atherton Street).  Food was good as well as the conversations.  Many of the attendees brought road-related materials to peruse as well as to keep:  Steve Alpert – Florida Turnpike maps; H.B. Elkins – new Kentucky and West Virginia maps; and Doug Kerr – Interstate 87 Northway maps. I brought some recent official state maps from Kentucky, Maryland, Tennessee, and of course, Pennsylvania.

Group picture of those who attended the 2009 State College Meet.
Left to right: Oscar Voss, Doug Lowmaster, Mike Barron, John Krakoff, Jeff Kitsko, Doug Kerr, Brian Rawson-Ketchum, Denny Pine, Brian Powell, Scott Onson, and Adam Froehlig

After lunch, we hopped in our cars and drove down via former US 220/US 322 to PA 550. On this road is the location of the first stop on the 2005 Meet tour. It provides a good view of the completed Interstate 99.  Where the two roads cross is where some of the acid rock problems had occurred. The large retaining pond, constructed on the south side of the Interstate to catch acidic run-off, contained a good amount of water.

Continuing down former US 220/US 322, now known as SR 3042, we stopped at the top of Skytop Mountain. This provides a good vantage point which overlooks the Interstate everyone loves to hate.  Construction crews discovered pyritic rock in this area, which eventually stalled work on Interstate 99 until a solution was devised. The plan included removing the disturbed rock and keeping the remainder at the location.  It is easy to see where the undisturbed acid rock is located as it is covered with mesh and rocks to prevent erosion.

We continued on SR 3042 to SR 3040 to Port Matilda, passing through the trumpet interchange where “END” and “BEGIN” signage still exist for Alternate US 220.  I would expect it to be decommissioned before the next official state map. The reason being there is no mention of the route on new signage on Interstate 80 or before the trumpet.

In the now traffic-thinned Port Matilda, we took Interstate 99 north back to State College.  The view from the alignment as it climbs Skytop is fantastic and will be spectacular in Fall.  We got to see in greater clarity the acid rock remediation as we headed back to the restaurant.

A few of the attendees had to leave at this point. The remainder of the group continued into State College on Business US 322 and then north on PA 26 to the southern stub of the Bellefonte Bypass.  It is now a ramp onto Interstate 99/US 220; however, there were plans to continue it south to the end of the US 322 expressway north of Lewistown.

Following northbound Interstate 99/US 220/PA 26, we turned off onto the former route of 26 right before the current interchange with Interstate 80.  There is earth moving taking place for the relocation of Jacksonville Road which is part of the plan for the future Interstate 80/Interstate 99 directional “Y.”

After which we head back to Hoss’s where we said our farewells, and headed to our respective destinations after the 2009 State College Meet.

 
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Announcements News

Interstate 99 FINALLY Opens on Skytop

Those who live along, and those who have had to travel the narrow and dangerous US 220 through the Bald Eagle Valley, have another reason to give thanks this Thanksgiving.  As of 3 PM today, the Bud Shuster Highway is finally open to both northbound and southbound traffic across Bald Eagle Mountain. In other words, Interstate 99 finally opens on Skytop!

PennDOT had previously opened both directions from Bald Eagle to Port Matilda in December 2007. However, from that point north, it was only open northbound. Continuing clean up of pyritic rock unearthed during construction was the reason.  Southbound traffic was still using the old alignment.  So it is now official:  PennDOT has slain the acid rock dragon.

Routes of US 220 and US 322 as remediation of acid rock was winding down and Interstate 99 finally opens.
Routes of US 220 and US 322 as remediation of acid rock was winding down

Interstate 99 markers now line the new highway.  However, it is only one of two Interstates to have its designation signed into law. Due to this issue, legislation will need to pass in order to update the definition of the route.  As of this post, the bill still needs to pass. Therefore, it could be said it is currently illegal being designated as such. However, then again some people would already say it is that due to being west of Interstate 81. Nonetheless, Interstate 99 finally opens across Skytop Mountain.

 
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