The road ahead for Jurgenson

By LYLE T. GALLOWAY
Posted 7/21/21

DAMASCUS, PA — The road ahead may look a bit clearer for Jurgenson Road, but there’s still work to be done.

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The road ahead for Jurgenson

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DAMASCUS, PA — The road ahead may look a bit clearer for Jurgenson Road, but there’s still work to be done.

The Damascus Township Board of Supervisors held a meeting on July 13 to discuss a possible resolution to a problem that’s been affecting a number of residents.

Claudia Newton, a 25-year resident of Damascus Township, brought the issue to the attention of the board last May. A Jersey barrier placed at the end of the path prevented her from backing out of her property safely. She was accompanied at the meeting by her neighbors, as well as her attorney, Vincent Grande.

The road was inspected on June 30 by engineers from Kiley Associates. The report alluded to lacking structural safety, as well as hazards when trying to enter or exit the road. Heavy rainfall in the area also triggered fear of possible erosion, due to the road being built on railroad ties and stone.

“The road cannot accommodate two-way traffic. Backing from Jurgenson onto River Road or backing onto Jurgenson Road is unsafe. In its current state Jurgenson Road is dangerous for all,” read administrative supervisor Steven Adams from the engineering report.

The board deliberated on moving the barrier up, installing a gate, disallowing the public from accessing the road and whether the township or property owners should maintain it.

“The board is not against you personally; I want you to understand this. We’ve talked about this a lot; we understand that you want to put a gate up,” said Adams.

“I just want to be able to turn around,” answered Newton. She said she would be all right with a gate being placed at the bottom of her property.

During the open discussion, the meeting room oftentimes felt more akin to a courtroom with the turbulent debating between Adams, township solicitor Jeff Treat and Grande. 

After a brief executive session, the board members resumed the meeting with a series of motions.

The supervisors made a motion to close Jurgenson Road on an emergency basis from its entry point at River Road to its terminus. There was also a motion to allow gated access to Newton and the other residents, ensuring that it covers the entire width of the road. Once the gate is placed, the barrier will be moved up, ensuring that there’s space for Newton to park and turn around. The township also agreed to provide surface maintenance from River Road to the final placement of the Jersey barrier, once a legal document is signed by both parties.

A petition will be sent out to 15 property owners who had access to Jurgenson Road and those who have it currently regarding the work being done.

Despite the heated back and forth during the discussion, the meeting adjourned on a positive note with Grande shaking hands with Treat and Adams as the parties present made their way to the exit.

“We gave in a little bit; we shouldn’t have had to assume responsibility on a town road... But, we made some lemonade with the lemons,” said Grande later on the phone.

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