Road Damage Ripple Effect Hurts Residents, Businesses
Wyoming County -- Gaping holes and mudslides line a stretch along Keelersburg Road between the Falls and Tunkhannock area. The road also known as State Route 2007 took a one-two September punch.
Flooding from Tropical Storm Lee followed by recent mudslides proved too much for the road to handle. "There's rocks all over it, chunks like this all out of it. It's nuts," said Chesapeake Appalachia Employee Matt Searfoss who traveled over part of the road. The pipeline worker from Michigan feels for everyone who calls this area home. "Devastating on the people who live here. I mean, we're just working here temporarily."
Keelersburg Road remained closed Friday morning along a roughly four-mile stretch from Creamery Road in Northmoreland to Route 29 in the Eaton area. PennDOT workers redirected some commuters who tried to navigate the road. "They said there's like three or four mudslides," said Pat Ruger. When asked what this meant for getting around the mudslides she laughed, "We're not going anywhere. We're going that way," while gesturing to Creamery Road.
It's a major detour along a road where so many families were devastated by flood waters three-weeks ago and haven't returned ever since. Keelersburg Road has become somewhat of a boulevard of broken dreams, not only for people who live in this area but also for businesses that normally thrive and are now just trying to survive.
"It's going to make it more difficult yes, yes for not only us but several businesses in the area," said Veto Barziloski of Bennie's Nurseries and Landscaping located on Route 92 in Tunkhannock Township.
He worries what impact Keelersburg Road woes will have on his garden center as well as his Christmas Tree farm across the Susquehanna River in Eaton Township. "A lot of our clientele comes up from the Pittston area, Scranton area," he said. "They use Keelersburg Road as the access to get there so we're going to be impacted quite a bit."
Some flooding this week hit Bennie's Nursery and Landscaping and damaged some Christmas Trees that can't be sold this year. But what could prove to be much more devastating is the ripple effect of the flood damage in the area. "We count on other businesses to help us and vice versa," said Mr. Barziloski.
PennDOT crews are scheduled on Saturday to continue clearing Keelersburg Road of mudslides and other debris but just when the major repairs will be made is anyone's guess.