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Tamaqua crossing unsafe for walkers

Students walking to the Tamaqua High and Middle schools face a dangerous situation every day, according to Tamaqua Councilman Tom Cara. Cara presented two short videos highlighting the dangers of walking lower Spruce Street in the area of the railroad tracks, during Tuesday night’s council meeting.

The video shows students walking along the southern edge of Spruce Street, where the macadam only goes to the edge of the street.

The paved area then drops down 6 to 8 inches to what is actually the railroad track bed. When there is no eastbound traffic, students walk along the edge of the macadam, but when traffic approaches, the students need to either step down or risk being struck by a vehicle.

The interaction between traffic and students happens at least twice a day, before and after school, although it may be more often during midterm exams and when honor students leave for lunch. “There are probably hundreds of times a day that someone could get hurt there,” said Cara. “This is a safety issue involving our children. Something must be done.”

The councilman was hoping the macadam area could at least be extended when Spruce Street is repaved after being used as a detour for a bridge replacement project.

He was reminded the bids for that project, which is under the direction of PennDOT, not the borough, did not include extra macadam and the property belongs to the railroad. Nothing could be done without the company’s cooperation. Council President Dave Mace noted that council does have a railroad committee and suggested the committee set up a meeting with railroad officials to see what, if anything, could be done.

A second potentially dangerous situation in the area was brought up by resident Michelle Mehallic, who asked council to look into a collapsing retaining wall at the former Anchor Deep building on Spruce Street. “The wall could collapse as kids are walking by on their way to and from school,” said Mehallic.

The issue was turned over to the code enforcement officer

Students walking to and from the Tamaqua High and Middle Schools face off with traffic every day as they cross the railroad tracks on Spruce Street without benefit of a pavement. Scan this photo with the Prindeo app to see a video. KATHY KUNKEL/TIMES NEWS