Photo by Scott Rando

Work on the new Pond Eddy Bridge, seen here from upstream, is due to wrap up in November. Local officials are scrambling to convince state and federal entities to leave in place the river access point created as part of the process for use by emergency responders for river rescues.

Local firefighters want Pond Eddy access point to remain

POND EDDY, NY — As part of the process to replace the Pond Eddy Bridge over the Upper Delaware River, construction crews built an access ramp on the New York side of the river. Local officials would like construction crews to leave the access point in place so that first responders could use it to launch river-rescue vehicles. But convincing state and federal agencies to adjust their plans is not as simple as it might seem.  

Sullivan County Fire Coordinator John Hauschild addressed the meeting of the county Public Safety Committee on September 6, and said that he attended a meeting with officials from Lumberland Fire Department, county officials, county legislator Nadia Rajsz, PennDot officials and construction representatives.

He said, the meeting went, “OK.”

Rajsz interjected, “That’s stretching it.”

He continued, “The reason I said it was OK is because they were polite to us,” which prompted some laughs. 

Hauschild said he proposed “what the Lumberland Fire Department and the community wants down there, what should happen down there. We’re going to have to go a little bit further, to New York State DOT, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, and the National Park Service,” to get further buy-in.

He said he and others were working as quickly as possible on this because the project is due to be completed by November, and the PennDot plan calls for the construction crews to remove all of the rocks and other materials they used to create the access point.

Rajsz said she was going to be at a meeting where the National Park Service would be present, and she planned to broach the subject again. She said, “This is for emergency services, this is not recreational and every minute—second—counts for safety and saving people’s lives....”

Without the access point, there is a seven-mile stretch of river that has no access point, and if an emergency occurs on the water near the Pond Eddy Bridge, rescue boats must be launched from Barryville.


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