Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Transportation Leslie Richards toured state roadways in the county on Friday, May 3, with Sen. Lisa Baker, a representative from Sen. Gene Yaw’s office, Reps. Tina Pickett and Jonathan Fritz, PennDOT District 4 Executive Richard Roman, PennDOT Susquehanna County Maintenance Supervisor Brian Small and Commissioner Alan Hall.
Hall said that in the allotted timeframe the group traveled “a good sampling of the road conditions in the county.”
Rep. Fritz said the secretary admitted she had seen worse roads in the Commonwealth but that Susquehanna County had “the most damage that is widespread and systemic” that she has seen.
The group toured two-, three-, and four-digit roads before wrapping up with a meeting at a restaurant in Lenox Twp. “Our deteriorated roads are every road,” Fritz said.
“They were quite embarrassed about the condition of the roads and the maintenance that has been done on them,” Hall reported.
Hall pointed out that it was not an issue with the local PennDOT workers, but rather an issue with past District 4 leadership not following proper maintenance procedures.
He said PennDOT officials said that the roads paved two to four years ago should have been sealed and they had not been. They also noted, according to Hall, issues with drainage and ditch work along the roadways.
Following the tour, the superintendents of the Elk Lake and Montrose Area school districts joined the group for a meeting. Hall said the school officials spoke to the secretary about safety concerns for school buses and student drivers.
Hall said PennDOT officials left the meeting with promises to put together an action plan on how the agency would improve the roads and take care of the problems.
Fritz believes the state agency’s management and District 4 leadership adjustments will work to alleviate road issues.
He also said the state is looking at a one-time influx of money to bring on contractors to help catch up on roadwork in Susquehanna County.