State Department of Transportation representatives discussed planned repairs to a state route in Athens Township with township supervisors Wednesday.

PennDOT plans to begin work as early as next winter to repair a one-mile section of Sheshequin Road that was closed in April due to a rock slide, said project manager Vance Cohick. A project to widen and repair rock and soil slides in that section, known as "The Narrows," had been scheduled to go to bid in 2015, he said.

The April 1 slide took part of a retaining wall and a section of shoulder in the southbound lane to the edge of the pavement. Engineers determined that the slide is too unstable for the road to open until the repairs are made. Car traffic has been detoured onto Front Street and North Rome and Ridge roads, while trucks are being detoured onto Route 220.

Because of the slide, bids will now be opened in Nov. 2013, with construction to begin as soon as January if weather permits, Cohick said. The project is scheduled to be complete in the fall of 2015.

The multi-million dollar project will involve realigning and widening the roadway, starting at a point about 2.6 miles south of East Athens. Work also includes storm drainage system revisions and guide rail upgrades, Cohick said.

Crews will blast into the mountainside to widen the roadway from 15 feet to 28 feet and move it further east and downward onto solid, stable rock, Cohick said. About 700,000 cubic yards of material will be removed, he said.

Engineers are currently in the project's final design stage. Cohick said officials are determining whether a scenic pull-off in the affected area will remain there. "It may be necessary to close that off," he said.

Engineers will also conduct a study at Wolcott Hollow Road and Route 220 in to determine ways to make the intersection safer, PennDOT officials said. Supervisors and area residents have expressed concerns about the safety of that intersection.

A study of the area should be complete by Nov. 2014, said PennDOT's Michael Bender. At that point, the department will be able to determine a scope of work for the project, and a 2016 bid date has been set, he said.

Amanda Renko can be reached at (570) 888-9652; or email: