Wilkes-Barre Road Closure On Good Friday Leaves Bad Feelings

WILKES-BARRE -- Crews were out on North Main Street in Wilkes-Barre Friday, working to fix a sewer problem.

Part of the street was closed for most of the day, blocking access to three churches all right near each other: Saint Mary's Byzantine Catholic Church, Saint Matthew's Evangelical Lutheran church and Saint Andre Bessette Catholic Church.

"We came we saw that the road was blocked so we had to go all the way around up north franklin street and back all the way around,” said John Bergold of Edwardsville who attends Saint Andre Bessette Catholic Church.

"We came this way and saw that road blocked and we came down around and back up and she pulled up, did a U turn and she dropped me off,” said Anne Bergold of Edwardsville.

People were upset, many of them elderly, who say they had to park too far away to get to their Good Friday services.

The contractors told Newswatch 16 they had to close the road to keep themselves safe and to keep vehicles from potentially driving into a hole.

"If someone is having a major inconvenience with their plumbing, you can't say 'oh you can't fix it today because it's a holiday or holy day, you know so I think there has to be more give and take. I think there could have been a little more communication,” said Rev. Kenneth Seegar of Saint Andre Bessette Church in Wilkes-Barre.

The workers say someone from a nearby church posted a sign covering their road closed sign, indicating the road was open to church traffic.

The contractors took that sign down.

Folks from Saint Andre Bessette say the contractors gave them permission to do that.

"They shouldn't have been here anyway. Today is Good Friday. Three churches? And they got the road all messed up. That ain't right,” said Harry Messersmith of Wilkes-Barre.

Some vehicles went around the signs anyway.

Church-goers say they know the work had to be done, they just wish there could have been better access to parking on such a holy day.

The road was finally reopened after 4 p.m.

"Not only that, now I'm parked way in the back of the parking lot now and I have to wait for everyone to get out because they triple parked us,” said Ray Fedor of Wilkes-Barre.

"The parking lot as you can see it's packed. Not counting the other churches that are having services, too. I mean you have one across the street and one there. So, makes it kind of hard, especially on a Good Friday,” said Noena Messersmith of Wilkes-Barre.