Traffic flow at bridge project examined

By Peter Becker

Managing Editor

Traffic flow and signals centered on the questions raised at Hawley Council, Wednesday night, discussing the ongoing Route 6 bridge project.

The bridge work is not a total replacement; the deck is being repaired and resurfaced. Nevertheless, construction is not expected to be completed until around July 4, said Steve Franchak, who is the PennDOT Inspector in Charge. He said this was dependent on the weather.

He said that the repairs to the deck is a "band-aid" solution but should last quite a long time. The time it is taking, he added, is better than if they had to rip down the whole bridge. A full replacement could take two years to do.

John Robertson, Councilman in charge of the Streets & Roads Committee, asked why traffic at the red light on Columbus Avenue are not allowed to turn right, east on Route 6 (towards downtown on Main Avenue), when the single-lane traffic is moving west over the bridge? There is a sign at Columbus saying "no turn on red."

Councilman Joseph Faubel also asked about Columbus Avenue traffic. Why must the traffic wait for the Route 6 westbound traffic (towards the park) to clear, if they are all going in the same direction? He said it may save only 10 seconds but it adds up quite a lot in a day. The same delay occurs for traffic coming off Park Place at Bingham Park, while eastbound traffic clears the bridge.

Franchak stated that the lapse in time is to allow the slower vehicles to cross the bridge first.

Susan Baldwin, president of the Hawley Ambulance & Rescue Company, and Eugene Krause, deputy chief, Hawley Fire Department, noted that there is no provision for emergency services to over-ride the traffic signals to let their passage over the bridge.

Krause said that PennDOT indicated that preemption control was not used in temporary lights. He said that the fire company was promised a meeting with PennDOT prior to construction but that never happened.

Kriger Construction representative James Mariolini said this should have been addressed in the design phase. Franchak said he would check on it but was not clear what would be done.

Krause also suggested that extra room for traffic could be created by temporarily prohibiting parking on Route 6 in front of the Post Office. He said this would give the fire department more room to get out from Columbus Avenue when heading east on 6.

Police Chief Daniel Drake offered that the police could put up temporary no parking signs by order of the Police Department, although he noted this was a state road. Solicitor Robert Bernathy asked the project manager to check on that and let the Borough know as soon as possible.

The next day, Franchak reported to Mayor Kevin Hawk that he would try to have an additional message on the electronic boards, telling drivers to yield to emergency vehicles, Hawk said. Franchak is also passing on the questions and concerns raised at the meeting.

Councilman Robertson related there have been complaints from the library and local businesses about traffic blocking their driveways. He said that hopefully the electronic message boards telling people not to block driveways will help.

On another bridge-related matter, Wallenpaupack Area School District requested and was given permission to use an alternate bus route utilizing Church Street.

There is also discussion about starting the Memorial Day Weekend parade on Columbus Avenue rather than from the park, in order to avoid crossing the bridge.