Drivers Concerned About Bridge Work Detours
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch - May 18, 2022
DINGMANS FERRY -- Most of the 20 people who gathered for the Delaware Township Board of Supervisors bi-monthly workshop prior to the regular meeting last week came to hear details about the plans and to voice their concerns about the impact Pennsylvania Department of Transportation work on two township bridges will have on their commutes and emergency response.
The projects call for 30-mile detours.
One of the scheduled repairs -- a single span, steel I-beam bridge on State Route 2001/Milford Road built in 1939, spans over Dingmans Creek. It is scheduled to begin next spring. The bridge, which recently reduced its weight limit to a posted 20 tons because of its deteriorating condition, involves reconstruction, replacing portions of the concrete wingwalls, masonry work, milling and paving the approach roadway and updating guiderails. The detour, onto state routes 2003 and 2004 for a length of 32.5 miles, will take approximately four months.
"The Dingmans Creek bridge is about fixing everything," said Supervisor Jane Neufeld.
Because of the reduced weight limit, many trucks have changed their routes onto Park Road. Township Roadmaster Vince Flatt has said in prior meetings that he has communicated with PennDOT his concerns about how the added heavy truck traffic has significantly damaged that road's surface.
The other scheduled repair -- a reinforced concrete slab bridge built in 1934 along State Route 2004 with a posted 30-ton weight limit, spans over Nichecronke Brook. It drew most of the attention in the workshop discussion.That project will involve milling the pavement for a 21/2-inch overlay on the bridge and milling and paving the approaching roadway as well as concrete deck repairs.
It will take about three weeks, tentatively through July. Traffic will be detoured for 36.5 miles onto state routes 2001 (Milford Road), 402, 739, 2004 (Silver Lake Road) and Interstate Route 84.
The detours are lengthy because PennDOT can only detour traffic onto state roads, not local ones.
Members of the public questioned why the bridge has to be closed for the repaving when traffic can alternate to one side of the road at a time like another PennDOT bridge repair in neighboring Lehman Township this summer.
Marcel Lakes resident Carl Hufnagel talked about the added mileage he will need to drive to get to his construction job in Milford for the Nichecronke bridge project this summer.
"To put this on a significant number of residents who will have an impact is extremely unreasonable for PennDOT," said Hufnagel.
Another resident talked about the added expense with the rising cost of gas for her to commute to her job as a nurse in a New Jersey hospital. "And what about our ambulances," she asked.
"Fire and ambulance have received the report and we fully expect their comments. It's worthy of lots of comments," said Neufeld of the township emergency response services.
A school bus driver said that, although school is not in regular session in the summer, there are buses serving that area for students in summer school classes and activities. "You'll have to reroute everybody," the driver said of school uses serving township residents.
One resident asked what the supervisors felt.
"It's got to be done, no doubt about that," said Board of Supervisors Chairman John Henderson. "They're doing the best they can do with the constraints they have."
But Henderson, Neufeld and fellow Supervisor Rick Koehler encouraged the gathering to forward all concerns to PennDOT. Neufeld said she will voice comments when the Pike County Road Task Force holds its next monthly meeting.
"I haven't missed a meeting in four years and I will raise my hand and say, 'You need to rethink this,' " said Neufeld.
The report also states that another bridge project in neighboring Lehman Township for a state Route 2003 bridge over Little Bushkill Creek this summer will utilize half-width construction at a time and alternate traffic to one lane with stop signs. It will take two months and involves replacing steel I-beams, the concrete deck and bridge barrier.
At the regular meeting, supervisors adopted Resolution 2022-07, which opposes the designation change of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area to Delaware River National Park and/or Preserve until all proper information and a formal plan is presented. The resolution was revised after the last meeting when the supervisors heard comments from the public and agreed to suggested revisions.
It recommends a map and analysis of how this change would impact local residents.
Under New Business, the supervisors awarded the Delaware Township Comprehensive Plan Request for Proposal (RFP) to Theurkauf Design & Planning for $59,250.00. The board tabled awarding the Delaware Township Park Master Plan and Site Drawing RFP to Simone Collins Landscape Architect for $49,835 until the township Planning Commission and Recreation Committee review the plan.
Supervisors approved payment request No. 1 culvert replacement project of $112,623.51 for Long Meadow, Log & Twig and Spencer Roads.
Len Glamann got a warm welcome back from the board of supervisors when he was approved as an interim Planning Commission member. Glamann, who served for nearly 20 years before retiring two years ago, will complete the remaining term until the end of next year that was held by Jim Andre, who resigned. from the Planning Commission. "I'm glad to come back," said Glamann to the supervisors upon his appointment.
Two other vacant seats need to be filled on the seven-member board. Bob Hunt has withdrawn his letter of interest for one of the other two vacant seats after he made a presentation to the supervisors at the previous meeting.
Also, the resignation of Robin Eldred from the township Recreation Committee was accepted and approved by the supervisors.
Supervisors unanimously agreed to waive building and zoning permit fees for the Habitat for Humanity of Pike County Inc. handicap ramp project at 111 East Shore Dr. in the private community of Birchwood Lakes.
ABS Solutions LLC proposal for a Microsoft 365 renewal for $1,632.00 was approved.
Ray’s Truck and Auto Repair estimate of $4,930 for the township's 2015 Kenworth was approved.
Among municipal hall use requests, supervisors approved Milford Valley Quilters Guild on Oct. 27 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a workshop.
Henderson announced that the Pike County Sheriff’s Office is now offering free car seat safety checks. Call 570-296-6459 to schedule an appointment.