BARTONSVILLE – A new detour went into effect Thursday along Route 611 in the Poconos, but as the signs went up, many drivers couldn’t figure out where to turn.
PennDOT crews have been working on the 611 bridge in Bartonsville for months, causing traffic backups and delays.
On Thursday northbound traffic lanes closed entirely, and the transition is causing some big traffic troubles.
Time after time, cars kept trying to turn onto 611 north, but the road is now closed for a bridge construction project over Pocono Creek causing lots of confusion for drivers.
“Well I ran into a mess,” said Betty Cook of East Stroudsburg.
Cook just wanted to get through to do some shopping, but didn’t realize she had to follow a detour onto Bartonsville Avenue.
“That`s where I ran into my difficulty, thinking I could get through the detour since this was so close to Rimrock Road, but I couldn`t, I had to make that complete turn,” said Cook.
Owners of an auto shop said people kept trying to cut through their parking lot, not realizing the road ahead is entirely shut down.
“They started putting the signs up, people are going right around it, and pretty soon what you had is quite a bit of a mess right here,” said Frank Janus of Burnzy’s Automotive.
There is only one detour sign drivers see as they`re approaching the 611 intersection from Rimrock Road. Some said it`s not enough to deter drivers from trying to turn left over the closed bridge.
Steve Jurasits runs a collision shop right across from the new detour and has been watching cars barely avoiding crashes all morning.
“There`s no ‘no turn on red’ signs anywhere, there`s no ‘no turn left signs’ anywhere, and it`s pretty much been a turkey shoot as far as collisions go,” said Steve Jurasits of Advanced Collision.
Even drivers familiar with the area admit they didn’t know where they were allowed to turn.
“I did, as a matter of fact you really don`t know where you should be turning into, but they have people out there on the roads, they`re directing you,” said Anthony Davis of Henryville.
Many watching the new detour said an accident is inevitable.
“It`s not a matter of if, it`s going to be when. A lot of people just aren`t paying attention to what the roads are,” said Jurasits.
We did talk with PennDOT officials after seeing drivers struggling with the new detour.
PennDOT said they are keeping tabs on the project and want to give drivers some time to adjust to the detour before making changes to the original plans.
The closure is expected to last through September.