DURYEA, Pa. -- Coxton Road in Duryea floods just about every time there is a heavy downpour, but PennDOT officials said fixing the road permanently is a lot more complicated and costly than it seems.
Drivers said this is the fifth time this summer the road has been closed for flooding. PennDOT has tunnels in place to get rid of some of the water, but officials said a lasting fix would cost millions of dollars.
Coxton Road looked more like a stream on Tuesday afternoon, but even cascading floodwaters and "road closed" signs didn’t stop people from chancing it. Drivers said the detour just takes too long.
“Probably about 40 minutes ride difference,” Donald Hearst of Clarks Summit said.
Flooding has always been a problem on this road that connects the Pittston area to Clarks Summit.
“When you have a road that's right next to a real high mountain and cliffs like this with all the water here, the railroad track, and the river - it just presents some really unique challenges,” James May of PennDOT said.
May said the cheapest fix would be to widen the tunnels, but even that plan presents problems with the railroad tracks and natural gas lines.
“This road is pretty heavily traveled. They have tractor trailers go back to the plant back there and them guys can't deliver whenever something like this happens. Sometimes it's closed for two weeks at a time,” Ron Kresge of Duryea said.
PennDOT officials said about 1,300 vehicles use the road every day. People who live around here say it floods at least once a month.
“This is the first summer it's been really bad with all the rain we had. Usually, it's once or twice, but this is probably four or five times already,” Hearst said.
Despite all the logistical problems involved with a more permanent fix, drivers still wish something would be done.
“It would help them truckers out. They have to go 27 miles around to get back there now,” Kresge said.
PennDOT officials said there is no word on when Coxton Road will reopen because the floodwaters have to go down first.