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PennDOT has other options to shutting down highway

Published November 12. 2011 09:01AM

Dear Editor:

It's rare that a newspaper headline can be considered an understatement. But I think the Times News headline on Nov. 8th "Traffic Woes in Tamaqua" does not even begin to express what our community is going through and is about to go through.

Despite the repeated protests of Tamaqua Borough Council, the Department of Transportation is going to completely shut down Tamaqua's Center Street Bridge for the repair of the rail crossing. Certainly the crossing needs repair, but this will shut down Rt 309 north and south in Tamaqua from Friday Nov 18th until Monday Nov 21th!

Tamaqua Borough Council strongly opposes this because it will create a terrible and terribly unsafe situation in Tamaqua - terrible because the traffic detour will be extraordinarily long and inconvenient and terribly unsafe because ambulance, fire and other emergency responders in Tamaqua will be disconnected from Owl Creek and the South Tamaqua areas.

There are other options. A temporary bridge will be constructed so that traffic flow will not be impeded when the Center Street Bridge is rebuilt. Tamaqua Borough Council made the reasonable request that the rail crossing repairs be done at the same time when traffic can be accommodated on the temporary bridge so Rt 309 doesn't have to be shut down for an entire weekend. Unfortunately, this request fell on deaf ears.

Tamaqua is already suffering because PennDOT's traffic signal project had to be constructed, reconstructed and re-reconstructed until intersection ramps were changed after the Borough protested unsafe conditions at the 5-points and other intersections. Now Tamaqua must suffer through a weekend-long shut down of Rt 309 when a temporary bridge option will be shortly available. Whoah indeed!

Micah Gursky


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