By STEVE IRCHA
I believe that PennDOT’s draft Purpose and Needs Statement for the Milanville Bridge (tinyurl.com/2p8exhk7) is clearly stacked in favor of what the engineering firm Aecom wants to do (a new enlarged bridge that makes them more money in engineering fees) and not what people actually stated at the online meeting in 2021.
I believe that the transportation needs that are presented are a biased version, counter to what people in the area actually stated they wanted and needed.
There are a lot of statements that present the need of emergency vehicles for rescue operations and fire trucks, and yet there has been no evidence provided or presented of any problems occurring in missions conducted in the past few years that the bridge was actually closed.
As such, these needs seem artificially exaggerated. They merely present what the engineering firm Aecom wants—a new enlarged bridge.
This whole survey is a stacked deck.
There are no questions on the survey that would help the community make their feelings truly known.
For instance, an unbiased survey would add the following questions:
- Do you feel that the purpose and needs statement is biased or unbiased? Why or why not?
- Do you believe that the initial survey utilized in gathering information for this purpose and needs statement had been written in a biased or unbiased manner as evidenced by the questions that were chosen? Why or why not?
- Do you believe that the engineering firm Aecom has been biased or unbiased in their handling of the previous surveys whose questions and answers were utilized in preparing the current purpose and needs statement?
- Are you aware of any emergency situations that were not handled properly because of the bridge closure for the past few years?
- The purpose and needs statement stated that the fire departments of Lake Huntington and Equinunk had a need for the bridge to accommodate their vehicles, etc. Are you aware of any situations where the fire departments were quoted in any local publication that they would have had a better outcome in any mission if the bridge was open for the last two years?
- The purpose and needs statement stated that the fire departments of Lake Huntington and Equinunk had a need for the bridge to accommodate their vehicles, etc. Are you aware of who at these fire departments made these statements? Did the purpose and needs statement tell us specifically who made these statements and whether or not that person had the authority to speak on behalf of those respective organizations? Were the statements by these organizations made after a meeting of all representatives of the fire departments?
- Do you believe that enlarging the bridge would be a disruption to the beauty and character of Milanville and the surrounding communities?
- Do you believe enlarging the bridge is merely a first step in eventually enlarging the road between the Milanville bridge and Beach Lake?
- Do you believe that an enlarged highway between the Milanville bridge and Beach Lake would bring more or less traffic to the area?
- Do you believe a new enlarged bridge and road would bring stores like Dollar General, beer distributors, and such along the sides of the road?
- Do you believe that an enlarged bridge and the ensuing extra traffic would result in fewer or more car accidents?
- Do you believe that an enlarged bridge and the ensuing extra traffic would result in more safety or less safety for children and other campers at the campsite on the New York side of the Milanville bridge?
- Do you believe that an enlarged bridge would bring more or fewer large trucks to the area?
- Do you believe that we received any evidence or results of an environmental impact study showing us things like extra pollution, extra noise, extra light, etc.?
- Do you believe that we received any evidence or results of a historical impact study showing us any disruption to the historical character of Milanville bridge and Milanville?
- Do you believe that there will be more or fewer injuries and deaths caused by an enlarged bridge, more traffic, and larger trucks/vehicles?
- Do you believe you were presented with a traffic study that provided information, such as how many more car accidents, pedestrian injuries, pedestrian deaths would be caused by enlarging the bridge? Would such a study be useful to you?
In my opinion, the entire survey was prepared in an unprofessional manner and would never pass muster in the professional community.
After reviewing the questions I presented above, I hope that you agree that the current bridge should be repaired and let’s stop the insanity.
Steve Ircha lives in Milanville, PA.
Click here for a link to the Purpose and Need document, the survey responses and the public comment links.
Click here for more coverage of the Skinners Falls Bridge.
Click here for the letters written by Damascus Citizens for Sustainability.
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