When roads stop being roads

| 27 Aug 2015 | 12:16

By Frances Ruth Harris
— Patrick Mullins didn't mince words.

He showed the Milford Road Task Force a photograph of a crumbling stretch of Sawkill Road and took the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to task.

"The patching is a disgrace," he said. It's "an example of lack of productivity and total ignorance from PennDOT to leave a road in such disrepair."

There's no excuse for putting asphalt at one end of the long, busted northbound shoulder, while leaving the center shoulder space empty, and big potholes still unfilled, he said.

Without proper drainage, Sawkill can't be fixed, he said.

"School buses on Sawkill Road are at a huge risk," said Mullins.

He accused PennDOT workers of sitting around at bridges and diners, and on Route 2001 past the American Legion, "just killing time." He wants the media to follow PennDOT crews around to see what they're actually doing, or not doing. This sort of malingering happens at the taxpayers' expense, he said.

"The work of PennDOT should be privatized," he said.

Mullins said PennDOT crews do a good job of plowing snow, but because the roads are so bad, they can only plow the median, where most people end up traveling. Plowing other parts of the road would just tear it up, he said.

Frustration with PennDOT has been building for some time among local residents, especially with regard to Sawkill Road. Some residents have been trying to get the state to pay more attention to Sawkill. In response, PennDOT agreed to patch the worst potholes and install a guardrail that would have saved one resident from flying off the road last winter. But PennDOT officials in Milford said there just isn't enough transportation money coming from the state to do more.

Ken Thiele, PennDOT's maintenance manager for Pike County, told the Courier in June that he's watched his maintenance staff shrink even as the population grew.

Never seen in GreenEddie Simons, the Green Township supervisor, said PennDOT hasn't come to his township since maintenance manager Dennis Giordano left. Several people turned to look at Giordano's picture, which hangs on the wall of the commission's meeting room, where the task force meets monthly.

Simons said Hemlock Road is "awful."

Shohola Supervisor Keith Raser echoed Mullins' fear about school buses hitting deep potholes on Sawkill.

"We're afraid to take a fire truck over the road," he said. "It is really not a road."