South Abington Township residents complain about Scranton Beltway Project

By Ben Freda - For Abington Journal
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SOUTH ABINGTON TWP. — Residents of Woodcrest Estates who attended the South Abington Tw. supervisors meeting May 14 expressed concerns of losing their homes after receiving a letter of intent that the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is beginning preliminary engineering and environmental studies for the creation of a beltway system utilizing the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Walter Tompkins and his wife Ann, who have lived in Woodcrest Estates for 41 years, were present to show supervisors a map of the properties, including ones on Willow Lane, Willow Brook Road and Hilltop Lane, that would be affected if the project called the Scranton Beltway Project goes through. Walter said two of his neighbors called the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and were told their properties are going to be gone.

“All of our homes and all of our properties to these people (commission) are no more than little spots on the map,” he said. “They don’t understand the families, the people who live in homes, the memories, the respect, the hardships, the taxes we pay.”

Walter added he fought for his country, spending seven years in the Army, and now he has to fight for his home.

“The bottom line is ‘We don’t want to leave our home.’”

South Abington Twp. supervisors indicated they are not in favor of this project, either. Supervisor David O’Neill said after receiving calls from residents, he called the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

“They (commission) said they will be happy to meet with township representatives and that they were also meeting with borough representatives of Duryea and Pittston,” he said. “They don’t have the answers right now for residents. They want to meet with us, discuss what they’re talking about.”

Supervisor William T. Jones said an ad-hoc committee of residents is being formed to discuss this issue with the commission.

“We thought if we can take the people who are affected, we can all get the information at the same time.”

Supervisor Bob Dougherty added the supervisors would like to get the people who are going to be involved by the end of the week. He said whoever is interested in being on the committee to leave their name after the meeting, call, e-mail, or stop by the office. He suggested the committee include people affected by the project.

Willow Street resident Robert Keaton, whose home is also being threatened, asked if people in Luzerne or Lackawanna counties want the project to happen.

“Why aren’t our voices being heard?” he asked.

The supervisors said they will do what they can and narrow the list of people who signed up to seven for the committee.

“The committee again is to be formed just to be able to get the residents’ foot in the door,” said Jones.

In other business …

• Anastasia Gaus, who has been a township resident for 13 years, complained that Adams Avenue, the only route to her home in a cul-de-sac on Adams Place, is deteriorated and reported all 18 homes on that street are owned and not rented.

“I found out from some neighbors that in 20 years, this little strip (Adams Avenue) has never been paved,” she said.

Gaus said this is causing front-end alignment problems on residents’ cars. She also said walkers and bike riders are falling because of potholes, adding that she and her walking partner have to look down to watch for potholes every time they go for walks.

Anastasia’s friend and neighbor Mary Kenney complained about the dirt on Adams Avenue, saying she and her husband Tom swept the dirt and put it in cans.

“The cans were filled so heavy, we had to call the borough to come and get rid of the stuff,” she said. “It was a disgrace.”

Kenney also said she had to have her car, which she has only had for one year, realigned and tires replaced.

Gaus added that everybody who lives on this road pays taxes.

The supervisors said they will try to fix it next year.

“There’s not going to be any road left next year,” Gaus replied. She said Montrose Avenue, which is perpendicular to Adams Avenue, was completely paved.

The supervisors said they currently have a list of roads currently being repaired, including Apple Valley Circle.

“They (residents of Apple Valley Circle) did the same thing you’re doing,” said Supervisor Jones. “They came in last year. They came as a group. They showed pictures, et cetera.”

The supervisors assured the residents they will go to Adams Avenue to take a look.

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By Ben Freda

For Abington Journal

Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-587-1148 or by email at news@theabingtonjournal.com.

Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-587-1148 or by email at news@theabingtonjournal.com.