My view

When democracy functions: repairing a bridge

By JOHN PACE
Posted 1/18/22

Holbert Creek runs longitudinally through Wayne County and empties into the Lackawaxen. There were damaging floods this past year and sometime in the fall, a detour sign appeared on an otherwise …

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My view

When democracy functions: repairing a bridge

Posted

Holbert Creek runs longitudinally through Wayne County and empties into the Lackawaxen. There were damaging floods this past year and sometime in the fall, a detour sign appeared on an otherwise undistinguished bridge over the creek.

For about a month, the sign did nothing to block the road, so the locals basically ignored it until that changed. Then gravel blocked the path and going to the Route 6 mall (Weis, Walmart, Home Depot, etc.) suddenly got about four miles longer each way. As you might expect, that extra travel did not exclude school buses and emergency vehicles (police, fire, ambulances, etc.). Like the rest of us, none of those first responders could jump over the creek.

As is typical in these important matters of road repair, information was scarce. So I investigated. I tried a local PennDOT number. The courteous and friendly employee and I commiserated on our mutual ignorance regarding the bridge repair plan and its timetable for completion. “Sometime in the summer” was all she knew. But the employee then suggested I try rcrs.penndot, which is a road condition reporting system. Who knew?

I entered the system and mapped the location of the bridge in question (near to where Brook Road and Torrey Road exchange names) and requested some explanation of the plan going forward. I received an email acknowledgment to my query and figured that was that. But about a week later I got this:

“Thank you for submitting concern number 20211214-C9PMLA dated 12/14/2021.

Your concern has been addressed with the following information from PennDOT… Informed John that the structure is currently being worked on and have a tentative open date for the week of 1/10/2022”

Now that might not be the best English, but this episode just might be a fine example of grassroots democracy and, after all, functioning democracy is a thing of beauty.

The repair was performed five days ahead of schedule. Thank you to all involved at PennDOT for doing their job so efficiently. The website, response and actual work were all proof that in fact the government can get things done.

John Pace lives in Honesdale, PA.

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