In 2016, The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced a proposal to link Interstate 81 and the Turnpike’s Northeastern Extension, Interstate 476, in the Scranton area to form a beltway that will help ease congestion on I-81. The plan calls for highway-speed connections that will enable motorists to seamlessly drive from interstate to interstate in northbound and southbound directions. It includes two separate links: one connection south of Scranton in the Borough of Dupont and Pittston Township, Luzerne County, and a second connection north of Scranton in South Abington Township, Lackawanna County.
Environmental studies and preliminary design for the Scranton Beltway are expected to last three to four years with a cost of up to $10 million. Final design would start at the completion of preliminary design. Following design, construction could start as soon as 2021. The construction cost is estimated at around $160 million; PennDOT will contribute $40 million, with the remaining portion funded by the Turnpike.