Extensive work on US Route 209 begins, completion expected by year’s end

Bushkill. During construction, motorists may experience delays. “When completed, motorists will have a much smoother, safer, and enjoyable drive,” said the park superintendent.

| 16 Mar 2022 | 06:01

Extensive repairs to a seven-mile section of US Route 209 in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area began last week and are expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

The work is funded by the Great American Outdoors Act. It is part of a $21 million project to completely rehabilitate 14 miles of the primary north-south artery and emergency access route through the park over the next two years.

“Repairs to the road surface, subsurface and drainage systems will extend the life of the road, eliminate the ongoing cost of frequent patching of potholes and other temporary corrective measures, and improve safety for motorists and bicyclists, including correcting the steep drop-offs on the road’s shoulders,” said Sula Jacobs, park superintendent. “When completed, motorists will have a much smoother, safer, and enjoyable drive.”

Work will include milling the existing pavement, conducting full depth patch repair and spot base repair, culvert replacement, reconstruction of shoulders, and line striping.

During construction, motorists may experience delays and should allow extra time to get to and from their destinations if using Route 209, although contractors will make every effort to keep inconveniences to a minimum. Full road closures, detours, and temporary traffic lights are not anticipated; single lane closures with flaggers will be used instead.

The first phase of the project will take place this year on the southernmost and most heavily travelled section of the federal highway. The entire stretch of road between mile marker 0 in Middle Smithfield Township, Monroe County, and mile marker 7 in Lehman Township, Pike County, will be rehabilitated.

Contractors have begun staging equipment and materials and surveying and marking the road. Full-scale construction schedules will be announced once surveying is complete. The second phase of the project includes repairs to US Route 209 between mile marker 13.7 in Delaware Township and mile marker 20.2 in Dingman Township. Preliminary work is underway, and the construction phase will take place in 2023.

Route 209 is a critical artery for businesses in gateway communities that depend on visitor spending.

For more information on Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, call 570-426-2452; visit nps.gov/dewa; or follow on Facebook.

This infrastructure project is being financed through Great American Outdoors Act’s National Parks and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund, part of the recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and other construction funding sources to address the large maintenance backlog in national parks.
When completed, this project is expected to reduce approximately $16.8 million in deferred maintenance, most of which is related to 84 miles of park-owned paved roads, parking lots, and bridges.
 In 2021, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area had 4.3 million visitors, making it the 15th most-visited national park in the country. Visitor spending contributes more than $200 million in total economic output in communities within 60 miles of the park.