LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — New developments Thursday in an I-Team investigation into a road resurfacing project that has led to controversy in Luzerne County.
Residents complain road work has led to dirt, debris, and even damage to property and vehicles.
Two state lawmakers are demanding answers and questioning the method used to resurface this road, commonly known as the ‘back road,’ that links Swoyersville to the Exeter area. They, like residents, say they want to know why this is a big mess.
“I just think this is a waste of taxpayer dollars and I hope I’m wrong that this is going to hold up and this is going to make it through the winter. But I’m very skeptical that this is something that’s going to hold up,” stated Representative Aaron Kaufer (r) 120 district.
State Representative Aaron Kaufer reacting to what he has seen and heard about the road resurfacing project underway between Swoyersville and Exeter.
Residents say they are fed up.
“Oh, I think it’s terrible. Noisy rocks all over my parking lot,” said Rob Stefanides, the owner of Rich’s Service Station.
PennDOT is using what’s called the ‘oil and chips’ process. Which is designed to seal the road, make for a smoother ride and increase its life span. But the project is raising the ‘ire’ of residents and prompting questions from state lawmakers.
“You know we’re trying to work with them. Let’s look how this holds up over the winter before we enter into any new contracts. This just doesn’t make sense at least in my area where these roads are being heavily trafficked by people all over the area,” added Representative Aaron Kaufer (r) 120 district.
Senator John Yudichak also has doubts about the oil and chips method.
“We need to do a better job in terms of PennDOT when we are doing these roads. I understand PennDOT is doing their job to extend the life of these roads and they are under a financial crunch with fewer dollars flowing into PennDOT. So we are not paving were doing oil and tar and that’s messy. We need to find a better way to do it,” said Senator John Yudichak-(i) 14th district.
A PennDOT spokesperson said in a statement to the I-Team:
“We have reviewed the condition of the roadway based on concerns raised. The following measures will be taken over the next week. We will have a water truck and two sweepers on the road today and Friday to reduce dust and collect any excess stone. We will then fog seal the roadway next week, depending on the weather. This treatment will aid in locking in the stone and reduce dust moving forward. Line striping will be completed after the fog seal is complete.”
PennDOT points out that there were similar complaints on the South Cross Valley Expressway last month. But the process proved to work.
But Kaufer and Yudichak say they will be watching the project here very closely. They are not convinced that the oil and chip process should be used in neighborhoods.