Help me, lazyweb, you’re my only hope

I find myself faced with the prospect of driving from Virginia to New York (Syracuse) on Labor Day weekend. Pennsylvania was bad enough on the way south last Sunday: I took I-476 from Clark’s Summit to Pittston, so missed whatever was happening on I-81 in there, but from there to Hazleton was a mess with large stretches reduced to one lane. I assume there are similar lane restrictions northbound — correct?

If so I don’t even want to think about what it will be like with holiday traffic. Are there any viable alternatives to I-81 for all or part of York-Harrisburg-Hazleton-Wilkes Barre-Scranton-Binghamton — besides I-476 from Pittston to Clark’s Summit? On Google Maps and MapQuest it looks like almost anything will add an hour or more — on the other hand if I-81 is backed up the alternate routes may be better — on the other other hand if the alternate routes are backed up, the cure is worse than the disease…

In particular, would it make any sense at all to take I-78 to Allentown and I-476 to Clark’s Summit, or will those be just as bad?  What about PA 309 from Hazleton to Pittston?  Better or worse than crawling through construction?

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