FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP — Anyone looking to escape to the Beltzville State Park near Lehighton is going to have deal with a detour.
Turnpike bridge work has shut down part of Pohopoco Drive, the main drag leading to the park’s main entrance and that detour isn’t going away anytime soon.
Some last minute mowing was going on Tuesday at Beltzville State Park, but people looking to enjoy the outdoors here near Lehighton this Memorial Day weekend will have to deal with a detour.
A Turnpike bridge replacement project has the main route to the park in Carbon County closed. Instead of turning onto Pohopoco Drive from the Turnpike and Route 209, drivers will take about a mile or two marked detour.
“We just want travelers to be aware and safety is definitely an issue as they’re navigating that detour,” said Beltzville Park manager Devin Buzard.
M & H Marine Sport Center owner Craig Haupt runs his business along Pohopoco Drive just past the closure.
“It’s making all the traffic go up and around and detour. It’s like four or five turns for our customers to get to our business,” said Craig Haupt, M & H Marine Sport Center Limited.
Haupt put up signs hoping to encourage customers to stop in.
“The impulse purchases are down and the person that would come here for repairs would think twice and it’s affected our business,” said Haupt.
The closure didn’t stop some from sunning in the park, but Jan Ashcroft of Long Pond says she worries the work may confuse people who don’t live near Beltzville State Park.
“Oh indeed, it’s going to have a huge impact because it is the best kept secret around, so yeah, so if they don’t pass by it, it will have a true impact on their business,” said Ashcroft.
This bridge construction project is scheduled to keep this road closed through 2016, something some businesses along that detour route, are actually looking forward to.
“I sell minnows, fishing tackle, worms, all kinds of worms and all size minnows,” said Carol Solt of Carol’s Bait Shop.
Carol’s Bait Shop sits along Fairyland Road, part of the marked detour.
Solt says she is already seeing more traffic since the detour took effect a late last month. She’s is anxious to see how busy she gets as the summer season is about kick off.
“I might get a couple different people in now and then, but we’ll see,” said Solt.
Officials at Beltzville State Park are urging drivers to plan ahead, but are expecting to see their usual crowds this Memorial Day weekend.