Power Line Construction in Park Enters Critical Phase

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Date: February 7, 2014
Contact: Kathleen Sandt, Public Information Officer, 570-426-2429

BUSHKILL, PA:  Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area Superintendent John J. Donahue announced today that due to construction activities associated with the Susquehanna to Roseland Transmission Line project, the recreational use of some park facilities will be restricted between February 8 and February 28, 2014. During this period, workers will install new transmission lines on the newly erected towers. "These temporary restrictions are intended to protect the public, employees and construction workers from safety hazards associated with large scale construction activities," said Donahue. "Safety is a top priority for the NPS, the utility companies, and contractors working on this project in the park. We are all working together to ensure that disruptions to the public are minimized to the greatest extent possible." 

Two utility companies- PSE&G in New Jersey and PPL in Pennsylvania- are upgrading an existing transmission line and associated structures within their Right of Way (ROW) in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.  The portion of the ROW that passes through the park is approximately five miles long and 150 feet wide and runs west to east from Bushkill, Pennsylvania, across the Middle Delaware Scenic and Recreational River to Hardwick Township, New Jersey, where it crosses the Pioneer and Hamilton Ridge Trails, Old Mine Road, Route 602 (Millbrook-Blairstown Road) and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail before cresting Kittatinny Ridge.

The utility companies have removed the old transmission lines and associated structures along the ROW. New towers have been erected and new transmission lines are scheduled to be installed between February 8 and 28.  During this time frame, some park sites and facilities near the construction area will be closed, or access may be limited, to eliminate or reduce hazards associated with moving overhead wires and the use of heavy construction equipment, including cranes, large trucks and helicopters. The size and scope of this project and the commensurate risks to the public, employees, and contractors during this phase of construction make it necessary to institute these precautionary measures.

The following facilities will be closed from February 8 to February 28, 2014:

  • The Delaware River corridor between Smithfield Beach and Bushkill Access will be closed.
  • Watergate Recreation Site on Old Mine Road in NJ will be closed. 

The following facilities near the construction area will remain open with some restrictions:  

  • The Appalachian National Scenic Trail and the Pioneer and Hamilton Ridge trails in NJ and the McDade Recreational Trail in PA will remain open during this period however hikers may experience delays of up to an hour during certain critical construction activities. Safety monitors will be in place on those trails to assist hikers. Every effort will be made to ensure that delays are as short as possible. Hikers other than through-hikers on the Appalachian Trail are encouraged to use other park trails during this period.
  • Smithfield Beach Access and Bushkill Access in PA will remain open. Boaters may use the river north of Bushkill and south of Smithfield Beach.
  • Poxono Boat Launch on Old Mine Road in NJ will remain open, but boats will not be permitted to launch in either direction. 
  • Old Mine Road and Route 602/ Millbrook-Blairstown Road in NJ will remain open however motorists may experience minimal delays during certain construction activities. No delays are anticipated on PA roads.

Signs will be posted at these locations to notify the public of any closures or restrictions.More information on the transmission line project, including maps, construction schedules and restriction or closure notices, can be found on the park's website:www.nps.gov/dewa. Current information on closures will also be posted on the park's Facebook page, www.facebook.com/DelWaterGapNPS and on Twitter at DelWaterGapNPS.

Did You Know?

Sketch of a dam with forests on the river banks.

... that the reservoir of the proposed Tocks Island Dam would have inundated 30 miles of the Delaware River and 30,000 acres of its river valley (now part of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.) The defeat of the dam was an early victory of the environmental movement in this country. More...

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