OLD FORGE ‚ÄĒ The repeated wrong-way traffic on Lonesome Road mystified Elaine Vass.
Old Forge police pulled over at least seven drivers Wednesday morning for violating the road signs banning Moosic-to-Old Forge traffic on the road, which reopened Tuesday with a single lane allowing only Old Forge-to-Moosic travel.
‚ÄúPeople are stupid,‚ÄĚ said Vass, the owner of E-Lane‚Äôs Diner, which sits near the Moosic end. She favored the single lane to get more traffic driving past her business, but many drivers ignored the ‚ÄúRoad Closed‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúDo Not Enter‚ÄĚ signs that bracket the single open lane near her restaurant.
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt want anybody to get killed,‚ÄĚ she said after watching the wrong-way drivers, who baffled Mike Schuback, too. His auto parts shop sits about halfway down Lonesome Road, which connects Old Forge‚Äôs and Moosic‚Äôs Main streets.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs extremely clear, the signs are very visible,‚ÄĚ Schuback said. ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs no doubt in my mind you (can) read them or notice them.‚ÄĚ
All the trouble started Aug. 13 when more than 4.3 inches of rain in 24 hours spurred Lackawanna River flooding that buckled the road in several places. The buckling forced the state Department of Transportation to close the road to all traffic. After that, PennDOT shortened the closed section to the damaged area so traffic could reach businesses on the Moosic end. Allowing traffic on a single lane allowed access from Old Forge.
After a business owner asked for the single lane, PennDOT agreed.
It quickly became apparent Tuesday that wrong-way drivers headed from Moosic to Old Forge thought they could get through the single-lane, one-way section without getting caught.
‚ÄúIt hasn‚Äôt worked as anticipated,‚ÄĚ said Schuback, who watched at least two near-collisions take place as wrong-way and right-way drivers rolled toward each other. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm not really sure how they‚Äôre going to resolve it, but the sooner the better.‚ÄĚ
A reporter witnessed two wrong-way drivers who police pulled over.
James May, a PennDOT spokesman, hopes publicity about the signs gets more drivers to pay attention. PennDOT plans to re-evaluate today and decide if the one-way, single lane will stay. Otherwise, PennDOT may have to resort to closing the damaged section again, May said. Traffic signals to alternately limit traffic in either direction would take longer to install than repairs, he said. PennDOT aims to have the road permanently repair by the end of October, he said.
Contact the writer: email@example.com; 570-348-9147; @BorysBlogTT on Twitter