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Duryea Unveils Plans For More Levee Protection

One community hit hard by last year’s floods is now moving forward to add more protection.

Duryea officials said plans to install a concrete wall to the already existing levee system are near completion.

However actual construction work is still a long time away.

Still many residents said they’re not sold on the project.

“Don’t say ‘oh we’re going to do this’ and then the next flood’s going to come and it’s going to come right over the bank,” said Duryea resident Patsy Marman.

She and other residents packed into the Duryea municipal building Thursday night and angrily sounded off after hearing plans to expand the borough levee system along the Lackawanna River.

“Why can’t they put even four foot of pilings, what does it take to put four foot of pilings for half a mile?” asked Dave Partuska.

Duryea was left under several feet of water and residents were caught off guard when the Lackawanna River overran its banks back in September after heavy rains caused by Tropical Storm Lee.

At a public meeting, state and borough officials along with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection presented plans to provide more protection to the borough.

“This meeting is about our dike, that we don’t have right now, from Stephenson Street down to the other end of Holy Rosary Cemetery,” said Mayor Keith Moss.

The plan would eliminate a roughly 1,100 foot gap in the borough’s levee system by adding a combination of a reinforced concrete steel wall and driven steel pile wall into the existing levee.

DEP’s design for the $1.5 million project is nearly complete.

Some residents are happy to see something being done.

“The dike’s never been updated. We’ve been promised since I think in the 80’s that they were going to revamp the dike, it’s something that has to be done,” said Joe Greco.

One thing is clear to many: while the waters have receded, the fear of flooding has stayed.

“I always told them that was, they said there’s a bend in the river, it’s not going, it has a lot of room to go in, I said ‘yes but one of these days it’s going to go over,’ and it went over,” said Joanna Yacana.

This levee expansion isn’t expected to start anytime soon.

DEP said the planning stage should still take another 12 to 15 months.

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