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Letter from the Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance (NEPA-Alliance) to Smithfield Township

Submitted by staff on

Re: Interstate 80 & Route 611 Delaware Water Gap - 

Major ⛔611 Short and Long-Term Plans Update
Big news in today's letter from the Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance (NEPA-Alliance) to Smithfield Township (added to photos):

   ⛔611 Phase 1 - PennDOT and NPS have come to an agreement on the rock removal scope.
   They are finalizing what is necessary for the Special Use Permit.
   NEW FUNDED ⛔611 Phase 2: 2025-2028 PennDOT plans for Slope Stabilization (aka Rockfall Mitigation) has been funded.
   NEW FUNDED - 2025-2028 PennDOT is planning to rehab/rebuild the 611 stone retaining wall - this is now funded. (Was 2027)

Thank you:

   Smithfield Township for passing Resolution No. 533, asking NEPA-Alliance to add a 611 DWG Corridor Study to the 2025-2028 TIP and to prioritize funding for the 611 planned projects. (Added to photo.)
   Area residents and business owners who submitted NEPA-Alliance Long Term Transportation Plan comments in December. (Added to photos with our I80 DWG Coalition Comment and the NEPA-Alliance Response.)
   Everyone who made phone calls, sent emails, and worked behind the scenes on this!

UPDATE: ⛔611 Phase 1

   PennDOT and NPS have come to an agreement on the rock removal scope. They are finalizing what is necessary for the Special Use Permit.
   Once the permit is granted construction is anticipated to take 6-8 weeks, with the intention of opening one lane upon completion. Was 3-6 Months
   Emergency funding was secured in 2022 for this phase.

NEW FUNDED: 2025-2026 - 611 DWG Corridor Study – LONG TERM SOLUTION!

   It is our hope this will include I-80 DWG Bridge to East Stroudsburg and 611 Point of Gap to Stroudsburg I-80.
   This was the first necessary step to help secure the I-80 DWG Corridor – Warren County portion and the 611 Portland to Point of Gap – Northampton County portion.
   Only if each of the three segments are studied independently can the agencies then collaborate and look to a multi-phased, well-coordinated long-term solution like a DWG tunnel or bypass.

NEW FUNDED: 2025-2028 ⛔611 Phase 2

   PennDOT plans Slope Stabilization (aka Rockfall Mitigation) has been funded.
   This will likely require a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Environmental Assessment (EA) and a National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 (Section 106) Review.
   These studies ensure minimal adverse impact to people, environmental, and historic/cultural resources, that all alternatives are considered, and require public input.
   It will also ensure cumulative impacts for all area projects are taken into consideration, leading to efficient, wise development of long-term solutions, public input consideration, and transparency.

NEW FUNDED: 2025-2028 - PennDOT is planning to rehab/rebuild the stone retaining wall

   The condition of the retaining wall is finally being addressed.
   This will require the same studies as previously mentioned.
   It is hoped, and appears likely, that this and the 611 Rockfall Mitigation project will be studied and developed as a two-phase project.

All great news. Under the circumstances, it appears things could not be going any better.
🛑Stop The Wall
🌄Preserve The Gap
🚧Fix The S-Curve






Heather Fischer, Mayor of Portland, PA

I have had many....many people reach out to me for clarification and some in celebration of PennDOT and NPS coming to an agreement on the work for Rt 611. Their understanding was the work is about to begin and will take 6-8 weeks before one lane is open. This is NOT my understanding of the facts. I wanted to comment sooner but delayed any response so I could confirm that I did not miss an update but it was a Friday afternoon so I instead reached out to Tara today to understand the post further. Tara explained to me that the information she posted on NPS and PennDOT coming to an agreement was taken from the NEPA letter you see below. I did not come to the same conclusion after reading it. I have attended every closed door meeting with Congressman Cartwright, NPS, PennDOT, DWG Mayor Freshcorn, and other state level representatives and I do not feel that we are on a path toward starting the rock scaling project in the immediate future. I, as well as Mayor Freshcorn, have firmly voiced our questions, opinions, and concerns while representing our boroughs and have attended a walk through of the planned work with PennDOT a few weeks ago. The NEPA letter does provide a good summary of the process and obstacles but I did not see where it indicated an agreement on the work was reached nor do I feel one was based on the conversations I was present for. That is not to say that a path forward could not be in the future but, to my knowledge from the last meeting, one has not been identified and I do not want information spreading further about an agreement that leads people to believe work is about to begin with one lane coming in 6-8 weeks. I seldom provide updates after meetings because, frankly, I don't always believe what comes out of them and until I see the road work begin or the road opened, I refuse to give anyone false hope.

If an agreement was reached and work is about to begin, I will happily stand corrected and celebrate with all of you.


Tue, 06/18/2024 - 07:38 Permalink