Shamokin Dam Route 15 Bypass funding: It’s real

It’s not here yet.

But the 40-year marathon that has been the Route 15 Shamokin Dam Bypass appears to have a finish line.

Officials say funding for the $558 million project finally is in sight.

While they caution that the funding is contingent on Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget being approved close to its proposed form, there are remarkably few loopholes and conditions after that.

The 13-mile project would be the largest plan in Corbett’s planned “decade of investment.”

It would be ticketed to start in late 2015 and end in 2023.

When completed, traffic on Route 15 would be radically changed.

As it stands now, the Route from Williamsport to points south such as Harrisburg has been markedly improved in the past two decades with one hitch, Shamokin Dam.

The area of this project would remove that hitch.

The advantages should be obvious and have been detailed before, but they are worth restating.

With the gas drilling industry here to stay, truck traffic has never been heavier and localities would benefit by getting that traffic off the heavily traveled Shamokin Dam strip. Getting those trucks off the local roads could save municipalities millions of dollars in infrastructure costs in coming decades.

Easier access to points north and south of Shamokin Dam would help the area’s economy, making it even more of a transportation hub than it already is.

The jobs created just from the project alone will be an employment boom.

And frankly, it’s embarrassing right now that a motorist can travel from Florida all the way up the Eastern seaboard without hitting a traffic light until Shamokin Dam.

This is a project that seemed like it would remain just a dream forever.

Reality is knocking on the door at Shamokin Dam.

That’s exciting news.