Don't let Riverside get 'railroaded'
To the Editor: This letter concerns the PennDOT proposal to close the Danville-Riverside river bridge during the construction period to repair/rebuild the railroad crossing on Route 54 in Riverside.
PennDOT held a meeting in Riverside on Feb. 25 to outline its plan for the upcoming project. Their proposal was to shut down the bridge at 6 p.m. on a Thursday evening and continue until 4 a.m. the following Tuesday, if necessary. Under this proposal, no motorized vehicles other than school buses and emergency vehicles would be allowed to use the bridge.
There was a lot of discussion about this proposal, most of it being against it. I was the most vocal. My reasons for being against the plan are many. First, it will put undue hardship on anyone who uses the bridge on a regular basis, mainly local residents and merchants. Second, it is being done while school is in session.
There are other reasons why I strongly oppose this plan, but I will not burden anyone with them at this time. I think everyone who reads this letter will get my point.
Other alternatives were proposed to PennDOT, but they didn't like any of them. One proposal was to have traffic use both South D&H Avenue and North D&H Avenue. But, all of a sudden, these streets cannot handle two-way traffic. Didn't the traffic flow two ways before the new bridge was built?
Another proposal was to limit the size of vehicles (no large trucks or tractor-trailers). Again, no response. Doing the work when school is out for summer vacation was knocked down because they didn't want to upset Knoebels (their words, not mine.)
At the end of the meeting, PennDOT said they will hold another meeting. Well, that meeting will be held at the PennDOT offices in Montoursville, which is 40 miles from Riverside. It appears to me that PennDOT hopes those folks who are opposed to their plan will not make the trip to Montoursville. Hey, PennDOT, what is wrong with holding the meeting in Riverside. If this isn't a railroad job (pun intended), then I don't know what is.
One last thing. I will be circulating petitions around the Danville/Riverside area for people to sign if they oppose the closing of the bridge. Please sign one of the petitions.