Mansion House Hill warning
AMY MILLER/TIMES NEWS Motorists pass an electronic message board that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation placed at the bottom of Route 209 (Mansion House Hill) in Jim Thorpe, after water runoff from the mountain caused icy conditions and led to several accidents over the last few weeks.
Motorists who travel Route 209 in Jim Thorpe can expect to see an electronic message board at the bottom of the Mansion House Hill, instructing them of possible icy conditions.
That's because extra runoff from springs on the mountain, as well as a heavy rain that soaked the area last week, coupled with low temperatures, has created some tricky traveling as water runs off the mountain and across the highway.
According to Ronald J. Young Jr., district press officer for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the issue of the water runoff onto the roadway is not a result of the paving project that took place earlier this year.
"I spoke with our maintenance and design and construction offices," Young said. "The product did not cause the problem. All they did was pave the road."
He added that in addition to paving the road, PennDOT replaced existing drainage inlets, but did not create new ones.
"We did not alter the drainage system," he said, noting that last week's heavy rains and mountain springs are the main reasons for the icy conditions.
Young said that to resolve the problem, a large-scale project would have to be developed and would have to compete for funding through the Transportation Improvement Program before anything could be done.
To help resolve the issue temporarily, Young said the PennDOT maintenance crew has placed an electronic message board at the bottom of the Mansion House Hill. This board states that motorists should reduce speed because the roadway may be icy.
"We will continue to monitor the roadway," he said, adding that PennDOT will put down salt or anti-skid material when necessary.
He reminded all motorists that they need to do their part and drive with caution.
The Carbon County Commissioners are not happy about the situation.
Commissioner Wayne Nothstein said during Thursday's commissioners' meeting that "since the road was repaired, it seems the problem has gotten a lot worse."
He said he tried to contact the supervisor at PennDOT, but was not able to reach him.
"We strongly encourage him to come look at the issue because it certainly is a hazard," Nothstein said, adding that there have been quite a few vehicular accidents at the bottom of the hill as a result of the runoff.
He noted that local PennDOT crews have been actively monitoring the roadway and salting and cindering it daily. This, Nothstein said, is quite an expense because they wouldn't have to be salting daily if the problem didn't exist.
Commissioner Charles Getz said he agrees with Nothstein and hopes that a resolution can be reached quickly.
Nothstein said the commissioners will keep pushing the issue until a solution is found.