Your recent coverage of the New York-Pennsylvania Joint Bridge Commission’s (JBC) proposal to replace the Pond Eddy Bridge (May 22-28) provides an interesting contrast between the continuing fantasy of highway and bridge engineers and the hard reality that their project will not only result in the loss of a National Historic Landmark, but will also have drastic environmental consequences for the Upper Delaware Wild and Scenic River.
In order to build a new bridge, the commission proposes construction of a full causeway that will close the river for over two years. This is simply unacceptable. Such a scheme would significantly threaten migrating fish species, freshwater eels and other wildlife, while severely impacting the tourism on which many locally owned businesses depend.
Equally unacceptable is the cost, already approaching $2 million in studies that have only produced this so-called “solution.” There is still no convincing engineering study that adequately demonstrates why the bridge cannot be restored to serve the 50 cars per day that use it.
Who can believe that a new bridge, at a likely real cost of $18 million, will be less expensive in either the long- or short-term, than proper maintenance of the existing bridge, starting with a coat of paint that has been absent for well over a half-century?
The public deserves far more from the promoters of this ill-advised project. Surely the engineers and bureaucrats of the JBC, with their collective years of experience and expertise, can devise a more feasible plan that is less costly to taxpayers and less disruptive to the environment.