Northern Wayne residents, Fritz, push for fixes on ‘haggard’ roads
NORTHERN WAYNE COUNTY — “We have no roads, that’s what’s wrong with our roads,” said Danielle Menotti about the state of roads in northern Wayne County.
Menotti is one of many frustrated with the potholes and degrading pavement on Callicoon Road, Rutledgedale Road, Route 191 and others in her area.
Menotti has been particularly vocal about the issue, using her Facebook page to urge friends to call the Governor’s office, Rep. Jonathan Fritz’s office and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). “Every time I call them I say what’s it going to take? Somebody to get seriously injured?” Menotti said. Rep. Jonathan Fritz says he is aware of the issue.
“Wayne County and Susquehanna County roads for that matter, are unacceptably haggard,” said Rep. Fritz, through a spokesperson. “My observation is that we are in a tailspin now where we simply cannot keep up with the repairs using the current approach.”
Fritz plans to ask PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards for a “significant, one-time additional injection of money for contract work in our region.”
Fritz’s office did not respond when asked how much money he would be requesting. PennDOT spokesperson Mike Taluto confirmed that Richards is commuicating with the Fritz’ office.
Other northern Wayne residents on social media have posted photos, videos and concerns about the state of the roads. A video by Carol Yatsonsky Rutledge, of her car driving along Route 191, Galilee and Rutledgedale roads, amassed 137 shares. Many who commented mentioned what they feel is an uneven divide of Pennsylvania tax money throughout the state.
Sally Hunt, who is a school bus contractor for Forest City Regional School District and Wayne Highlands, said she is concerned about safety.
“Our roads are in terrible condition and the only thing that ever happens is a few patronizing patches,” said northern Wayne resident Hunt. “The holes aren’t the only problem, it’s the ditches and sluices that never get cleaned out. This has been going on for years and years.”
Transporting children to and from school becomes difficult, Hunt said, “as we not only have to dodge water and holes in the roads, but we also a have to dodge the oncoming traffic that’s on the wrong side, [also] trying to dodge all the holes in the road.”
Most who have aired their concerns about the state of the roads say PennDOT’s workers seem to be doing what they can, with their hands tied. A representative from PennDOT, Gary Pezak, who works in the Dunmore office, went on a ride along with Menotti several months ago. “I showed him different spots on the road and different roads in our area that need attention and are basically beyond just patching,” she said.
Pezak said that after seeing Menotti’s roads and potholes—which he said were comparable to those in other counties—he relayed her concerns. A PennDOT crew did begin repairing the ditch in front of her house on Hancock Highway near Callicoon corners, but had to stop when severe rain caused flooding that required their attention elsewhere.
There are several bonded roads in Wayne County—meaning certain secondary state routes where most of the traffic and damage has been determined to come from nearby companies. PennDOT requires haulers using those roads to be financially responsible for excess maintenance. Half of Carly Brook Road is bonded, for example, and PPL Electric is responsible for the repairs there.
There are ongoing road repairs listed on PennDOT’s website for Wayne County, as well as several scheduled for the rest of 2019, but few of them are in the northern half. Taluto said those repairs may be addressed in PennDOT’s weekly maintanence schedule. Meanwhile, rainfall is expected to wreak more havoc on older, rural roads.
“Things are slowly happening,” Menotti said, “but it’s sad when you see all the scheduled work and we have nothing unless we call and hound them.”