On June 28, 2007, it was reported that a planned widening project of Route 412 from the Interstate 78 to South Side will not be finished in time for the grand opening of the Sands Bethworks casino, according to officials.
The spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Ron Young, commented that the department plans to begin the widening project on Route 412 in 2009.
The project is expected to take 2 years to be completed. Sands Bethworks has already proceeded on their ground breaking plans for their $637 million casino in South Side.
Sands Bethworks plans to finish their casino facility, which will contain 3,000 slots machines, restaurants and retail shops by late 2008. Sands Bethworks plans to add 2,000 slot machines, a 300 room hotel and convention facility by 2009.
City officials and PennDOT are both hoping to reduce traffic problems while Route 412, which is the main connection between Interstate 78 and Bethlehem, is under completion, according to Stanley Poplawski, PennDOT’s project manager for the construction of Route 412.
Poplawski commented that the Route 412 project, which will cost $70 million, will be constructed in 2 phases. The first phase will include the remodeling of 24 intersections, most of them can be found on Route 412 and on Fourth Street, which should be completed in 2008.
The first phase will cost around $4 million. Phase 2 of the project has a projected cost of $65 million. It will include the widening of Route 412, a demolition of a rail bridge and the construction of a bridge over the Saucon creek.
Young said that PennDOT plans to have one way of traffic flowing from both directions during the construction. He further stated that the department will likely construct new lanes while keeping old lanes accessible.
The planning committee of Lehigh Valley has said that 65% of the casino and the Bethworks traffic will enter the city from I-78 and Route 412. The remaining 35% is expected to come from Bethlehem, especially on Hill-to-Hill Bridge.