Online petition circulating to stop Scranton Beltway Project

By Ben Freda - For Abington Journal

SOUTH ABINGTON TWP. — At the Aug. 13 township supervisors meeting, Willow Lane resident Ann Tompkins, who was at the meeting with her husband Walter, told the board she spoke with Representative Marty Flynn’s office last month in hopes of stopping the Scranton Beltway Project. Flynn told her he and senators Bob Casey and John Blake had a meeting with the PA Turnpike Commission and all their alternative ideas were turned down by the commission.

“That meeting ended in a standstill with no updates,” Williams said.

Tompkins was told there will be other meetings scheduled in the future. Township manager David O’Neill said Blake’s regional director Larry West called and told him there is a way the state legislature could overrule the project. Supervisor Giles Stanton advised the Tompkinses to keep calling the turnpike commission and keep the supervisors informed.

Walter Tompkins told the board Ann started an online petition with currently 17,000 to 18,000 signatures of people against the project. He said 4,000 to 5,000 signatures are from Pennsylvania. This online petition explains the Scranton Beltway Project will bulldoze many homes located on Woodcrest Estates and surrounding homes, as well.

Ann Tompkins mentioned the turnpike commission is running tapes recording the number of cars going through Simrell Road up to Leach Hill Road and one of her neighbors told her the turnpike commission is also doing surveys across I-81.

“The biggest concern is they’re not stopping,” she said. “They’re (turnpike commission) continuing to move with the project.”

Ann said she put a message against the project on Woodcrest Drive’s Facebook page and she also sent letters to newspaper editors and called radio stations.

O’Neill advised her to contact the politicians who are running for election since it’s almost Election Day.

Supervisor Mark Dougherty added, “Use your social media. Have the highest impact you can, and just keep hammering up the neighborhood. We’re all with you guys.”

In other business …

• South Abington resident Dan Williams, who has been living on Oakland Drive for 16 years, complained his home keeps getting flooded. He said during the first year, his garage and basement were flooded about six times and he had to install a waterproof system.

“We spent quite a lot of money,” he said.

Williams said the original owner of the house had a sump pump, in which water flowed onto the street in front of his house and the water froze on the road during the winter. He said he had to put in a 2-pump system so water could flow in the yard behind the house.

Stanton explained before Williams’ house was built, farmers used to grow hay on that property, which collects water.

Williams said his neighbors want to put something in between the houses so water won’t flow into their house.

“We addressed it a few years ago,” he said. “My wife (Gwyn) did. She called Mr. O’Neill (David) and left a message for him and talked to him about getting a catch basin in front of our house when they paved the road.”

Stanton asked him how many neighbors have the same problem.

Williams said nine of the 11 houses in the 900 block of Oakland Drive are affected and there are two houses that don’t have catch basins, including his. He said his neighbors, who don’t have a catch basin, don’t have a water problem.

O’Neill said the township installed three catch basins along Williams’ side of the street.

“There were three sites that were chosen based on the lay of the land,” he said.

O’Neill also said Marciano (Marciano Contracting, Inc.) didn’t have pumps strong enough to pump out to the catch basins in the rear of Williams’ property.

Williams showed the board members photos of his property and they they will take a look at it.

• O’Neill announced the PA Turnpike Commission plans to put its portion of construction of the bridge over Edella Road out to bid this fall for the 2019 season.

“The same detour that was in place for the Edella Road Bridge over 81 will be back in place for approximately a year,” he said.

• O’Neill reported he was a meeting at the joint treatment plant with Clarks Summit, Clarks Green, and ARWA (Abington Regional Wastewater Authority) officials three weeks ago and they talked about how, over the past 10 years, they’ve been doing a lot of repair work to the structured areas of the pipes. He said the pipes aren’t showing good returns.

“We’re trying to get a little more focus on where the actual problems are,” he said.

O’Neill said ARWA has a program the supervisors can piggyback off to bolster chances of obtaining a grant for work on Edella Road. He said the price is $500 a month per meter. He said ARWA can do the insulation in a given area which they can move every month or six weeks. He said he’s specifically targeting the Ivy Industrial Park area because of its sewage.

• The board voted to hire Scott Blakiewicz for part-time maintenance of the borough.

By Ben Freda

For Abington Journal

Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-587-1148 or by email at

Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-587-1148 or by email at