Pohopoco paving closes entire road
Crews pave a section of Pohopoco Drive in Towamensing Township Thursday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Closures on Pohopoco Drive in Towamensing Township sparked safety concerns among residents Thursday, who say they were given little notice that both sides of the road would be closed off for paving.
In a Facebook post dated May 29, the township asked residents to “please be mindful of the paving being done on Pohopoco Drive.” The post did not provide details of when the road would be closed, or what sections.
“Literally no other town closes both sides of a road at once,” one user wrote in the comment section.
Melissa Mohr said she couldn’t get her car out of the driveway Thursday. She added that both sides of Pohopoco Drive near her residence were closed off, so she couldn’t leave her home.
Mohr said when she asked a construction worker why the township decided to close both sides of the road, they responded that a township can close any road that they want, anytime.
“None of us believed that they could, but they did,” Mohr said.
“It’s not considerate of your residents,” she said.
More than the inconvenience, Mohr thinks closing both sides of the road could be a safety hazard. If there was an emergency, she said, it would be difficult for anyone to get in or out of the area, as Pohopoco Drive leads out to state routes.
The township didn’t send out any letters to residents letting them know both lanes would be closed, she added.
“I have three grandkids across the street,” Mohr said. “What if one of them fell and broke their leg? ... Are they going to do this to other people?”
Crews from Lehigh Asphalt Paving & Construction, the contractor responsible for the project, worked Thursday from Station Street to Penn Forest Drive, according to the township office. The paving project stops at the Franklin Township line.
Greg Haas, Towamensing Township engineer, said the contract between the township and Lehigh Asphalt gives the contractor authority over traffic control. He doesn’t know how long the road will be closed, or when it will reopen.
“That’s up to the contractor to work out,” Haas said. “If they can strategically open portions that they just paved after a certain time period, that’s up to them.”
Haas noted that the paving contract also required the full width of the road to be paved in one pass.
“You get a better job out of the pavers when you require that, instead of doing one lane at a time,” Haas said.
The township was very specific when receiving bids for the paving project, Penny Kleintop, chair of Towamensing Board of Supervisors, said at their meeting Thursday night. She said the township wanted the entire road paved at once to avoid a seam between the two sides, which could lead to water damage.
“We all need to be patient when paving is going on,” Kleintop said.
“It’s going to be beautiful,” she said.
Future work on Pohopoco Drive, which is about 22 feet wide, will include painting white lines along the sides and double yellow lines in the center. The township also plans to lay modified stone on the road’s shoulders.