College goer traffic woes

By Victoria Lavelle

The road construction sign at the Route 252 crossing over the Springton Reservoir Dam cautions drivers to take it slow on the afternoon of Sept. 24. Photo by Victoria Lavelle

Morning traffic on Route 252 crossing over the Springton Reservoir Dam has been at a standstill since earlier this year due to a $13 million overhaul and expansion to the bridge that began last January.

The bridge is in the second major phase of renovations, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. PennDOT is in the process of building a temporary roadway and bridge that will run parallel to the existing bridge across the reservoir. Once the detour crossing is complete, the original bridge over the reservoir will be reconstructed, according to PennDOT.

“This bridge replacement project highlights PennDOT’s ability to work seamlessly with other agencies, including Aqua Pennsylvania and various stakeholders, as well as the owner of the Springton Reservoir, to provide a sustainable transportation facility for the public,” Governor Tom Wolf announced in a PennDOT press release.

The construction is a joint project of Aqua Pennsylvania and PennDOT to fix the structurally deficient stretch of road across the Springton Reservoir, increase the spillway, and expand and reinforce the dam to comply with the Department of Environmental Protection’s flood plan.

The Route 252 crossing is heavily congested by tens of thousands of motorists daily,
according to PennDOT.

Students and faculty at Delaware County Community College who rely on the Route 252 Springton Reservoir crossing are experiencing major congestion during their morning and afternoon commutes to and from campus. In fact, the commute has become a real nuisance for some students who were not shy in venting their frustrations.

“The morning drive to campus this [fall] semester has become a nightmare,” DCCC liberal arts major Christina Mattuecci said. “The roadwork has continually hindered my ability to make it to morning class on time. Even when I’ve planned ahead, the wait to get across the bridge tends to get longer and longer. The drive is becoming a morning nightmare!”

DCCC graphic design major Nick Patrick explained how he is dealing with the traffic woes.

“I am personally fed up with the long waits every morning,” Patrick said. “I now have to take an alternate route to get to class on time, which requires traveling an extra five miles north on the Blue Route. Even so, it still makes me late to class on occasion. When will this traffic mess ever end?”

Students agree: the road construction is a major project causing the disruption of traffic on the major artery for commuters to and from the campus, so college travelers are bound to be affected in the months and years to come.

College goers traveling over the Route 252 crossing should plan accordingly, as Aqua Pennsylvania expects to begin a spillway improvement project in 2021 after the PennDOT bridge replacement is complete, according to PennDOT.

Flagger Force crew leader Brian Garland, 36, of Narberth, Pa. who routinely flags traffic across the Route 252 Springton Reservoir Dam, explained that patience from college drivers is a virtue.

“I work for Flagger Force, yet I am also a driver who has been where you are,” Garland said. “I have also had to wait in long traffic delays and been late to work because of it. Drivers, please be mindful of road crews and construction flaggers, and have some patience too.”

Flagger Force crew leader Brian Garland, 36, of Narberth, Pa. guides one-way traffic at the Route 252 crossing over the Springton Reservoir Dam on Tuesday Sept. 24. Photo by Victoria Lavelle

All drivers are advised to allow extra time when traveling through the work area because backups and delays will occur, according to PennDOT.

All scheduled activities are weather-dependent and subject to change.

The estimated completion date for construction is scheduled tentatively for Oct. 18, 2021.

Contact Victoria Lavelle at vlavelle@mail.dccc.edu

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