November brings commercial traffic restrictions on Route 209

| 28 Sep 2011 | 03:01

    MILFORD - Due to the expiration of the law that permitted certain commercial vehicles to use Route 209 through Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, all commercial vehicle use, except that which falls within the vicinity of the National Recreation Area, was prohibited as of Nov. 1, The Park Service has defined the vicinity of the recreation area is defined as businesses located within the boundaries of the nine townships that are contiguous with the recreation area. Those nine townships include: Upper Mt. Bethel, Stroud, Smithfield, Middle Smithfield, Lehman, Delaware, Dingman, Milford and Westfall. A 1995 law, which the area had been exempted from, took effect on September 30, when the exemption was not renewed by Congress. Under the law, only those commercial vehicles that serve businesses that are located within the vicinity of the recreation area will be allowed to use US Route 209. For the past month, the National Park Service has allowed those commercial vehicles that were permitted to use Route 209 prior to the change in the law to continue doing so. The new restrictions went into effect beginning November 1st. The exemption law also authorized the commercial fees, so there will not be a fee charged to those commercial vehicles that are permitted to use the road. All commercial vehicles that are not permitted to use the road will be turned away at the contact stations. “We recognize the difficulty that rerouting commercial traffic off Route 209 may cause communities in the area of Milford and those along State Route 2001. Over the past year, the National Park Service held public workshops to address the long term management of commercial vehicles on Route 209. It was evident from the input that we received that reauthorization of the law that would permit the continued, but limited, use of Route 209 by commercial vehicles for an , additional ten years was the best choice,” said Superintendent John Donahue. A bill extending the authorization of the exemption law for an additional ten years has been introduced in Congress but has not yet been acted upon. HR 3721 was introduced by Representatives Don Sherwood and Paul Kanjorski. ‘We are grateful for the interest and assistance provided by local elected officials and by our Congressional delegation to reauthorize commercial vehicle use,” said Donahue. “I am confident that our legislators will find the means to avoid these problems on any long-term basis.”