HAZLETON, PA Saturday, 27 January 2007
Local News
Local Sports
National News
National Sports
Senior Scene
Arts & Entertainment
Ray Saul
Staff Columns
All Categories
Help Wanted
Homes For Rent
Homes For Sale
Legal Notice
Place An Ad
Company Store
Contact Us
Photo Gallery
Send us your news.
Click here for more information! Click here to visit the Gallery!!
Dump truck troubles: Hazle supers threaten to close access road for dredge haulers over safety Print E-mail
Friday, 26 January 2007

Antonio Pollick, 8, held a sign reading, “Speeding Kills. This is what could be wiped out” while waiting Friday for a school bus in Cranberry, where adults worry about the threat to children from trucks delivering dredged material to a mine reclamation site.
"I was here the day that a tractor-trailer stopped this far from the school bus," said Carol Novitsky, a Cranberry resident, while holding her fingers a few inches apart. "That’s what really riled up the parents."

The near miss on Wednesday also stirred the Hazle Township supervisors.

They sent a letter to the co-manager of the company importing the material saying the access road will close next Wednesday at 6 a.m. unless the company responds to the supervisors’ concerns.

The letter signed by all three supervisors went to William J. Rinaldi of Hazleton Creek Properties LLC and cited the near accident but also said children were repeatedly sprayed by dirt from the trucks and a street sweeper.

One truck with a leaking tailgate attempted to avoid a state checkpoint by stopping at the Harwood Volunteer Fire Co., where some material spilled onto the parking lot, according to the letter, which also cited a "failure to provide engineering data and documentation previously requested" as a reason for closing the road.

In Cranberry, children can wait for school buses in a shelter below the inverted "V" intersection of Old and New Cranberry roads.

To board the bus, they walk across the intersection to the edge of the main road, which residents call Old Route 924.

"Kids line up backpacks up there. They’re carefree kids. They play tag to keep warm," Antonio’s grandmother Elizabeth Pollick said while standing with him in the 3-degree weather.

She said trucks go too fast and too close to where the children wait.

State police and state vehicle inspectors have been checking the speed and condition of trucks on the road this week. Officials along the highway early Friday said most trucks that have been stopped were in good mechanical condition and covered the loads with tarps as required.

On Jan. 4, dirt dragged onto the highway from the access road created excessive dust, an inspector for the state Department of Environmental Protection wrote in a report filed at the department’s office in Wilkes-Barre.

Inspector Robert Laczi also wrote a request that a letter be sent to Hazleton Creek Properties asking how future violations will be prevented.

In mid-December, Hazleton Creek began importing dredged material onto 277 acres. The company plans to cover a landfill, put in access roads, railroad line and reclaim minelands before building an amphitheater in a project expected to take more than five years.

Initially, the company planned to import dredged material by rail while transporting additives such as fly ash and kiln dust and brick, block and stone by truck.

On Jan. 17, however, Mayor Louis Barletta said trucks are delivering the dredged material less expensively than trains could.

Barletta said then that the traffic problem should end in Cranberry when the main entrance to the reclamation site opens on South Church Street, which has occurred.

On Friday, trucks drove to the site on an access road between 282 S. Church St. and 300 S. Church St.

While residents of Cranberry want the trucks out of their village, the entrance on South Church Street has critics, too.

In a letter to DEP on July 21, 2006, Anne Marie Shelby said fog and ice are common along the route. Shelby, one of the leaders of the group protesting the use of dredged material at the site, also asked if a traffic study had been done.

"There wasn’t a lot of planning done," Shelby said on Friday.

She said Route 309 is heavily traveled and is also a school bus route, and she is concerned about accidents.

Shelby also wondered if two other entrances will open farther south where colored ribbons mark locations.

The last time she spoke with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2,600 trucks had left Fort Mifflin loaded with dredged material headed for Hazleton.

Next >

Print your own coupons online!
© Copyright Standard~Speaker Newspapers 2006