Trucks will be limited on Route 209

Congress’ passage of new bill will restore access

By TOM KANE

MILFORD, PA — The National Park Service (NPS), which operates two gates that control commercial traffic on Route 209, will begin limiting truck traffic on the roadway beginning November 1.

The stretch of road runs from Bushkill to Milford and parallels the Delaware River. The announcement was made at the Pike County Commissioner’s meeting on October 5.

Commercial traffic is not normally allowed on roads that run through units of the National Park System. “In the case of Route 209 in 1983, Congress made a temporary exception for 10 years because of the lack of alternative primary routes for communities in the vicinity of the park,” said John Donahue, superintendent of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area. The exception was renewed in 1993, and it expired on September 30.

“Due to the expiration of this law that permits certain commercial vehicles to use Route 209 through the Delaware Water Gap and authorizes the park to collect fees for such use, the park will sharply limit use of that road following a month-long transition and suspended the fee collection as of noon on Friday, September 30,” Donahue said.

Use of Route 209 will be limited to those trucks with destinations in one of the nine townships that are contiguous with the park, he said. “All others will be turned away,” he said.

“We have no choice but to follow the old, more restrictive law that was valid before Congress made the special exception,” Donahue said. The new law, which will renew the old exception, is expected to pass.

The enforcement will begin November 1 to give truckers time to be aware of the change.

A new proposed law—Public Law 104-3333—has been introduced in Congress but has not yet been acted upon. HR 3721 was introduced in the House by Rep. Don Sherwood and Rep. Paul Kanjorski.

“People just can’t pick and choose what trucks it will allow,” said Todd Spencer, vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) . “This is a selfish attitude that only contributes to the cost of trucking and the cost of the products they carry.”

OOIDA will oppose the law in Congress, he said.

TRR photo by Tom Kane
Trucks pass through the southern gate along Route 209. (Click for larger version)