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December 09, 2016
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Putting the brakes on the Pond Eddy Bridge; Hinchey, Bonacic, UDSB and SC legislature weigh in

A view of the bridge from Route 97 on the New York side of the Delaware River.

Meanwhile, the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, Inc. (UDSB) has called upon the National Park Service to use its authority to assure that the recreational values that qualified the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River for national recognition and protection are maintained.

A letter to NPS superintendent Sean McGuinness specifies that the current plan could require 15-24 months of construction activity including a causeway built in the river to access the construction zone. “We understand that boaters will be required to exit their vessels and portage around the causeway, effectively shutting down this section of the river to the unrestricted access that the public is currently entitled to enjoy on this recreational segment of a National Wild and Scenic River,” the letter specifies.

“This situation will negatively impact the local economy when would-be visitors are discouraged from recreating in this part of the river and outfitters' business is inevitably affected by the construction. Impacts to the river's ecology and the potential for an increased safety risk from flooding or ice jams that could be exacerbated by the placement of a man-made obstruction in the river's free-flowing condition should also be considered.”

The UDSB also noted that both states are signatories to the River Management Plan, which makes all state agencies responsible to uphold the plan's resource management and preservation objectives. Listed among the plan's goals are to "provide for the continued public use and enjoyment of a full range of recreational activities," and "maintain and enhance the corridor's social and economic vitality and its diversity."

In response, McGuinness explained in an email, “We are very engaged in this project and working with all parties for a successful outcome for a bridge we all can be proud of that will be a legacy for future generations. I don't intend to allow any lasting impacts to the river ecology or recreational use. A bridge that will compliment the outstanding scenic and cultural values of the Pond Eddy area of the Upper Delaware will most certainly also enhance the economic viability of the valley.”