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December 08, 2016
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Hinchey: Pond Eddy Bridge Replacement Plan Wastes Taxpayer Dollars

This project also threatens to adversely impact significant resources within the "Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River," a federally designated and protected unit of the National Park Service. Congress passed this designation in 1978 to protect for future generations the outstanding scenic, recreational, historic, cultural, and natural qualities of the Upper Delaware River corridor, many of which would be negatively affected by the bridge replacement proposal. Constructed in 1904, the existing bridge slated for removal is one of only four Petit truss bridges surviving in New York State and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The NYS Office of Historic Preservation and the national Advisory Council on Historic Preservation both expressed strong concerns in response to PennDOT's push to remove and replace this structure, charging that the agency did not genuinely consider the option of preserving and rehabilitating the historic Bridge to accommodate the small number of daily crossings.

The demolition of the Pond Eddy Bridge and the construction of a modern, overpass-style replacement structure would diminish the historic character of the Pond Eddy area and adversely affect scenic, recreational and environmental qualities that contribute to the Upper Delaware's federal designation as well as its designation as a New York State Scenic Byway. As we have seen in previous PennDOT projects in the Upper Delaware, the agency's replacement bridges are sorely out of place and out of scale with the rural character and historic heritage of the River corridor. In addition to destroying a unique structure that contributes to the region's historic character, this project would require interruption of the free flow of the Delaware River for at least one year. This diversion of the River would impact the recreational use of the River that is so vital to tourism businesses in Sullivan County. Interruption and changes to the River's flow could also threaten the natural resources of this section of the Delaware, which is classified as Special Protection Waters by the Delaware River Basin Commission.