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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Bridge woes indicate much larger problem

  • A story on our front page today may not seem like a huge deal, but it goes to a much bigger problem.
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    A story on our front page today may not seem like a huge deal, but it goes to a much bigger problem.
    The story is about the Narrowsburg bridge on Route 652. That road connects Honesdale, and a big chunk of this entire area, to New York.
    Highway officials recently did an extensive inspection of the bridge and the result is troubling. The inspection revealed problems. Though they are not detailed about those problems, it's clear the bridge is not in good shape.
    The result will be emergency repairs starting in March. The full repairs will likely be sometime in 2015 or after. Officials just aren't sure when or how much it will cost.
    What we do know is the bridge will be down to one lane traffic starting in March until "at least 2015."
    This could be a nightmare, especially in the summer months when Narrowsburg is host to many tourists. Whether they are watching eagles or utilizing the arts community or enjoying the Delaware River, it's a busy place.
    That doesn't even count all of the campers as well as the thousands of people who cross that bridge to go to concerts and other events at Bethel Woods, the home of the original Woodstock concert.
    For a few months in the spring and into early summer, there will be flaggers at the bridge in the daytime hours. Weight restrictions went into effect on Tuesday.
    Once the temporary fix is done, traffic lights will be placed on both sides of the bridge and travel will be restricted to one lane.
    Sure, this isn't like restricting a bridge in a major metropolitan area. However, it is a vital link for people in this area and travelers alike.
    To say the least, it's going to be a headache which lasts a long time.
    If you go north along the Delaware, the Skinners Falls bridge is already closed because of a recent inspection.
    And therein lies the problem.
    This nation's infrastructure is crumbling right before our eyes.
    And nobody seems to be willing to do anything to fix this problem.
    Anyone who has traveled Route 652 to Narrowsburg knows that road needs some serious work. It's in horrible shape.
    As are ... well there are just too many roads to mention in this space.
    Pennsylvania continually ranks as one of the worst in the nation when it comes to the condition of the state's roadways. The state keeps raising the price of the toll roads but nothing improves. It seems they are simply trying to cover costs.
    But that will not solve the problem.
    Page 2 of 2 - At some point in time, those in power are going to have to make some tough decisions about improving the overall infrastructure of this nation.
    And it won't be cheap.
    It's safe to say billions of dollars are needed to improve our roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, airports, trains and just about everything else related to transportation.
    The big decision is where that money is going to come from because budgets are tight and taxpayers are tapped out.
    It's a dilemma, for sure.
    However, at some point in time, we are going to have to make the decisions. And that time needs to be sooner than later.
    Everyone vividly remember the bridge collapse on Interstate 35 over the Mississippi River in St. Paul, Minn., in 2007. If you think that was a fluke, it was not.
    All of us are traveling on borrowed time. There are thousands of bridges in this country which are sub-standard.
    And that's just bridges, like the one to Narrowsburg.
    It is not an easy task ahead and there don't seem to be any clear solutions. However, something is going to have to happen or bridge collapses like the one in Minnesota will become commonplace.
    That is something none of us should accept.
     
     

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