TROY TOWNSHIP — As Cheryl and Lowell Muir enjoy the sites and sounds of spring from their front porch, the latest site is the abundance of cars and other vehicles making their way through Hydetown and on to Townville. However, most travelers seeking to reach Townville do not wind up reaching their destination on their first try.
In late May, construction commenced on the state Route 408 bridge over East Branch Sugar Creek in Troy Township, subsequently shutting down a chunk of the road, and forcing drivers to take a series of detours to avoid any construction.
According to the Muirs, who reside on the route, directly across from Moss Grove Road, cars have been continuing straight through the warning signs, expecting an additional road to come up where they can detour off, but that opportunity never arrives, obliging drivers to make an unconventional u-turn with the use of a resident’s driveway.
The main issue, as claimed by the Muirs, is that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has not provided enough warning for drivers as to how far off they are from the road closure, and to which road they should take to avoid the closure.
“I see maybe ten cars a day go down the hill, then come right back up,” said Lowell. Cheryl added that she witnessed a pick-up truck towing a trailer attempt to continue on the route this past Saturday. She said she can only imagine how difficult it must have been for the vehicle to turn itself around and come back up the hill.
However, according to PennDOT District Press Officer, Jill Harry, Moss Grove Road is not a part of the detour, and for that reason, PennDOT has not deemed it necessary to add any additional signs along Rt. 408 directing drivers to take Moss Grove Road, or any other road along the route for that matter.
It should also be noted that at the intersection of state routes 408 and 8 in Hydetown, there are warning signs in place requesting that state Route 408 be used only by local traffic.
For the last two weeks, the Muirs have continuously viewed car after car make the same mistake. According to Cheryl, she had been in contact with a PennDOT representative two weeks ago to express the Muir’s concern, however the representative only mentioned that PennDOT would be discussing the issue, but the Muir’s have seen no additional warnings or directions posted since. Cheryl also added that a friend of hers, who also lives on the route, had reached out to PennDOT as well about the same problem, but to no avail.
PennDOT has made no plans to add or change any signs, as stated by Harry, who simply encourages drivers to be more alert of the signs already posted.
“It’s a very common issue that we battle constantly,” said Harry in regard to drivers ignoring road closure warning signs. “If we add too many signs, it would be like noise pollution in a way. So we try to be intentional with what we do post.”
Harry also added that the bridge construction project is on schedule, and is expected to be completed in early July “hopefully before the 4th.”
Snyder can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org