A contract for a $22.9 million improvement project for Interstate 81 in Schuylkill County may be awarded next month.

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation District 5-0 spokesman Ron Young said Friday the work won't begin until next year or possibly even 2011.

The project, funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, was mentioned Thursday in a White House press release announcing a total of 10,000 transportation projects have been approved for stimulus funding.

The I-81 work in the county involves milling and resurfacing the northbound and southbound lanes of about six miles of I-81 in Mahanoy, Ryan, Delano, Kline, and East Union townships, Young said.

The project will include other jobs as well. The ramps at Delano and Hometown/Mahanoy City will be rehabilitated where the work will include bituminous joint sealing, shoulder upgrades and rehabilitation, concrete joint repair, concrete patching, all weather pavement markers, line painting, drainage inlet adjustments, signing updates, guide rail and concrete barrier updates, and other miscellaneous construction items.

The McAdoo ramps will be reconstructed and there will be drainage upgrades, inlet and pipe replacements, all weather pavement markers; line painting, signing updates; guide rail upgrades; shoulder upgrades; and the rehabilitation/replacement of concrete barrier, along with other miscellaneous construction items.

Two closed weigh stations, one at the northbound lanes and one at the southbound lanes will be removed as will the northbound rest area. The sites have been vacant for several years.

Young called the project a "design-build," which means a single general contractor handles both design and construction.

So far, the U.S. Department of Transportation has made $48.1 billion available for highway, road, bridge, airport and other transportation projects, the White House said. Of that, $30.6 billion has already been committed to fund 10,041 approved projects in 53 U.S. states and territories. Of these, 6,547 projects are under way.