Homeowner fears detour safety risk


WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Drivers who use a major road in Wilkes-Barre are heading into an eleventh week of detours. Eyewitness News first told you Wednesday night that the River Street sewer line project will continue into next week. A homeowner in the work zone is questioning one of those detours calling it a risk to kids. Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller looked into her concerns.

“The way they come through here is just… is off the chart.” Frustration is what you hear when Diane Mayo talks about traffic behind her Courtright Avenue home. “They just zoom through here and they don’t stop,” she said.

An increasing number of drivers lately uses a large access area between Darling and River Streets as their personal detour. They’re avoiding the ongoing River Street sewer line installation project. Sometimes the detouring drivers meet head-on behind her house. “Who’s going to back up first? Who has the right of way? As for as I’m concerned neither one of you have the right of way,” she said.

Part of her lawn is torn up with tire tracks. “It’s been hell for me. It’s nerve-wracking. It’s nerve-wracking when I have to see, look out my window and see trucks right against my window.” Those trucks and other vehicles travel over an uneven and somewhat rocky, large dirt lot onto a much smaller stretch of pavement that was put in a few years ago for construction crews building Diane’s house.

Diane says before the sewer line installation project, cars would only show up randomly in this access area. But since the project started, they’ve been showing up by the dozens each day. Diane fears what was a neighborhood nuisance has become a serious safety threat. “Now I don’t want my grandkids to come out here and play. They’re kids.” 

Diane has contacted Wilkes-Barre City Hall about the detour. “I do understand her frustration,” said Wilkes-Barre City Administrator Ted Wampole. Wilkes-Barre City officials reviewed the access area that doesn’t even have a street name. Mr. Wampole said, “Just like most of the alleys in the city they’re not… there’s no signage that are there. They’re kind of like these access roads. So there’s not a whole lot that’s going to be done to it.” 

With no city intervention, Diane is faced with few options. “They’re still going to allow this traffic to come through here? That’s totally unacceptable,” said Diane.

Ms. Mayo is taking little comfort with the sewer line project wrapping up soon. She believes now that the access area detour is known, many drivers will continue to use it. 

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