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Police chief has strong words about conditions on Mansion House Hill

Published December 14. 2010 05:00PM

During the regular meeting of Mahoning Township supervisors Monday night, Police Chief Kenneth Barnes slipped out to answer an emergency call that resulted in another accident on the Mansion House Hill between Jim Thorpe and Lehighton, in which he reported a young family's car spun on the ice and careened into a wall.

"The road was closed down and it took two PennDOT trucks to scrape and salt the ice from that stretch of the highway," Barnes told supervisors during the officials' portion of the meeting shortly after he returned.

While there were no fatalities in the Monday evening accident, Barnes had strong words about the condition of that part of Route 209 known as the Mansion House Hill.

"That road is a disgrace and a hazard and something has to be done to correct the problem or someone is going to be killed on that road," he said.

The steep grade that descends into Jim Thorpe is mostly in Mahoning Township and supervisors discussed Barnes' concerns about the highway, which was closed for a short time last week due to the hazardous conditions.

"I think we need to give PennDOT a chance to correct the situation," said Chairman John Wieczorek who suggested the chief and he visit state officials Tuesday to discuss the problem as well as send a letter from the township notifying them of the condition.

Earlier in the meeting township resident and local developer Jake Arner suggested the supervisors see if they could get someone to mill an inch off the shoulder in question. A letter in last Saturday's TIMES NEWS by a local resident suggested the state clear the rocks that were placed behind the curb in what was a gutter that helped to control the run-off.

Barnes said whatever is to be done needs to be done soon.

"That area can be cleared off now and in two hours it could be just as dangerous as it was before it was treated. Someone needs to do something about it before something bad happens to someone," he said.

The board agreed on a 4-0 vote, with Supervisor Frank Ruch absent, to send a letter to PennDOT requesting they fix the situation so that no one gets hurt.

Barnes said that if the road is not fixed, the township will be there all winter dealing with accidents from the dangerous conditions caused by the water running across the highway and freezing on the road.

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