Small Bridge Could Cause Big Problem For Business in Poconos

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MIDDLE SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP -- The Tom X Road Bridge in Middle Smithfield Township is scheduled to close Thursday as crews work on a small bridge over Longshore Creek.

That work may take until mid-September to complete.

“It has to be replaced, I guess. They said it's structurally deficient. There's nothing we can do about it,” said Steve Van Why, owner of Historic Tom X Pub.

When the bridge closes, PennDOT officials say traffic must be detoured onto Route 209, bypassing the Historic Tom X Pub near the bridge.

The owners of the pub live close to the bridge, too, and they're worried.

They say they make most of their money in the summer and depend on vacationers finding their business. With the detour in place, they might not be able to.

"We're off the beaten path, so a lot of our customers like that it's a little bit isolated, quiet, not a lot of traffic. So that's been a blessing. However, with the road closing, it could be a curse for us,” said Ruth Van Why, owner of Tom X Pub.

PennDOT officials say while the deck and beams are being replaced on the bridge, just the bridge will be closed, not the road. Still, people worry the local business will be hurt.

"I'm afraid that Tom X might lose customers. I don't think like the local people because we can get around it. We know ways around it, but for those who are visiting, I hope that they call and get directions somehow to get here. It's a great place and I hate to see their summer be ruined,” said Anita Mead of Bushkill.

The owners of the pub plan to put signs up and get the word out on social media to keep customers coming.

"If they can't find us, they're not going to bother looking. They don't know that we have great food. They don't know about our fantastic bakery. They don't know those things. They're willing to take a chance if it's easy to get here, but if they have to travel, you know, we’re concerned. We're really concerned about that,” said Ruth Van Why.


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  • SorryNotSorry

    The strong survive. Bad location. If you rely on random chance of vacationers finding you, that’s a poor business model.

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