Old Pittston Boulevard remains closed for 100 yards after flooding caused by Ida

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PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A local road with a history of flooding remains closed two weeks after remnants of Hurricane Ida caused damage.

The road is right next to a creek, but a concerned neighbor says the creek isn’t the main flooding issue.

Old Pittston Boulevard has taken a beating. Flood water two weeks earlier washed away several layers of blacktop and base, leaving uprooted chunks of pavement and large potholes. It’s caused a roughly 100-yard closure on the road that runs parallel to a creek and through what neighbors call the “beep beep tunnel”.

“Before that creek even went over its banks, that tunnel was flooded,” said Joseph Parsnik who lives on Old Pittston Boulevard.

Parsnik walked down the road that he had seen flooded before, but never quite like what the remains of Hurricane Ida caused.

“All this water feeding into this I think backed this up and that’s what washed that end of the creek. Went out of its banks. But all this water feeding into it makes that creek crazy,” explained Parsnik.

He blames it on what happens about a mile up the road in Bear Creek Township.

“The biggest problem we have here is the water runoff. And most of it is coming from the turnpike that’s up above us. We get their water on very bad storms and it helps multiply everything that flows into that creek,” stated Parsnik.

Retaining walls along the creek seem to be in good shape but PennDOT says the stream banks need erosion protection work along with fixing Old Turnpike Boulevard.

“It’s frustrating to all the neighbors because we’re kind of stuck if we can’t get through that tunnel and this whole mountain comes down through the tunnel,” said Parsnik.

The only option for the neighborhood is to take Old Pittston Boulevard into Bear Creek Township, roughly a 15-minute or more detour.

“We’re one storm away from being trapped here.” Parsnik said.

He pointed out that trees are clogging the creek upstream and that if the creek isn’t dredged, the road above runs the risk of flood damage. Parsnik says he doesn’t want anyone to think he’s just complaining for the sake of complaining. He just wants to make sure the state doesn’t forget about him and his neighbors.

PennDOT says it’s putting the work out for design on how best to make the necessary repairs. A Transportation Department spokesperson says the goal is to complete the job by winter.

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