MONROE – Sen. Rosemary M. Brown (R-40) contacted the Director of the National Park Service to call for the immediate prioritization of the required federal permit to begin work on Route 611 in Delaware Water Gap, which has been closed since Dec. 6, 2022.
Route 611 is owned and maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and runs through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in Monroe and Northampton Counties. To begin the necessary work, a Special Use Permit from the National Park Service is required.
“The state has been ready with the necessary funding and crews to begin work since early 2023,” Brown said. “We have made the reopening of this roadway a top priority and we are insisting this be a priority of the National Park Service, as well.”
Brown’s letter to the National Park Service Director includes firsthand statements from Delaware Water Gap Borough officials and business owners sharing the impact the closure has had on their livelihoods.
Brown has also been in communication with Congressman Matt Cartwright, and they will be convening a meeting with all stakeholders.
“Our intention is to convene a discussion on how we can mitigate the challenges the National Park Service and PennDOT are facing when it comes to reopening Route 611 and devising a cooperative strategy between both agencies that will provide relief to the people we serve,” Congressman Cartwright said.
“Since the initial road closure more than a year ago, the state has been compliant and reasonable throughout the permitting process with the National Park Service and working to understand what they require. It is not always easy, however, the need for urgency must be reciprocated for the people in this region,” Brown said. “They need to prioritize the information needed, the processing of that information, and make definitive decisions to meet their laws so we can move forward. It is extremely dangerous to have this roadway removed from our detour options based on its location parallel to Route 80.”
“It is also doing more harm than necessary to our businesses. One lane, safely opened, at this point is the goal and the state is ready when the National Park Service says ‘go,’” Brown said.
CONTACT: Mackenzie Mueller