JESSUP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Water problems have forced an emergency helipad out of service in Lackawanna County.
The helipad’s location, at the 911 center in Jessup, has been concerning to county leaders and now they’re taking action to fix it.
The new 911 center is barely ten years old. It was built in 2006 and 2007.
County leaders say the back parking lot where the helipad is located was not built with enough drainage and it has caused a lot of problems over the last decade.
Because of the helipad’s current condition, no helicopters can land there if they needed to.
“The lights have been shorted out by the water problem, the concrete has been dilapidated, dilapidated beyond the point of maintaining it,” Dave Hahn, Lackawanna County Director of Emergency Services said.
When the 911 center was built, current county engineers believe the back parking area was put in flat with few storm drains so when it rains, water ponds on the pavement and takes its toll.
The company involved in the work is reportedly no longer in business.
“I hate to second guess people. We probably would have installed some more drainage at that time but it just didn’t work out,” county engineer Gary Cavill said.
Getting the helipad fixed has become a priority for emergency responders.
“Lackawanna County, we deal with everything, the blizzards that we’ve had recently, the tornado two years ago,” Hahn said.
The helipad can also be used for medical emergencies, especially in the North Pocono region, like Jefferson and Madison Townships because ambulances can stop on Route 247.
By a 3-0 vote Wednesday, commissioners approved spending $202,376 of taxpayer money to fix the problem.
Besides addressing the drainage, the work also calls for creating a larger helipad this time around which commissioner Laureen Cummings questioned, saying men just want bigger “toys.”
“They want to replace it with something bigger and better as usual and that would be fine if it was the private sector but we’re talking about taxpayer money here!” Commissioner Laureen Cummings said.
The county did solicit bids for the repair project and they selected the lowest bidder, Leeward Construction, to do all the work.
County engineers expect all of the work will be finished within the next four months.