Rough Ride: Have Roads in Susquehanna County Been Improved?

BROOKLYN TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A few months ago, we reported on badly damaged dirt roads in Susquehanna County that jolted students and damaged school buses; PennDOT said it would fix the problem over the summer break.

Parents, bus drivers, and even administrators in the Mountain View School District wanted PennDOT crews to make repairs while their kids were home for the summer.

As we showed you in June, these roads were in awful shape.

The owner of school buses in Susquehanna County feared he'd have to nurse the vehicles through another year of rocky roads.

This spring, the dirt roads in Brooklyn Township were so bad owner/driver Dan Anthony's buses took a beating.

"It's like a minefield of craters," said Anthony. "You have to hit them. You can't miss them because there's just too many of them."

Parents said their kids suffered from the bumpy ride.

"They'll come home and have a headache. They get bounced around, and they have a longer bus ride," Bridget Evans said.

PennDOT blamed the bad roads on too much rain and too few crews to fix the problem right away but promised it would work on it during summer vacation.

"Our goal is to have every school district's roads in much better shape than they are currently as the school season comes to a close," said PennDOT maintenance manager Brian Small.

We rode along the Mountain View bus route at the end of the second week of school to see if PennDOT reached that goal.

The section of one road where a bus almost snapped an axle in June has been fixed and Dan Anthony doesn't even have to slow down.

"Much better, a lot smoother. They did a good job," Anthony said. "The kids are not bouncing all over the place and my equipment's not taking a beating."

The potholes on the road that caused young necks to whip on the bus have been filled in.

"They should be able to get a ride to school without worrying about hitting their heads on the side of the bus, hitting each other, or bouncing out of the seat," said Anthony.

Parents complained to school officials regularly last school year, claiming their kids had headaches and sore necks.

This year, Tom Witiak, the business manager of the Mountain View School District, hasn't heard a single complaint.

"The parents on this route will definitely be pleased with their child's review of the improved road conditions," Witiak said.

Small potholes are beginning to form. That's to be expected with dirt roads. Drivers simply hope that if this fall or winter is wet, that the potholes don't become ditches.

Anthony says that the roads are so much better, he's able to shave 10 minutes off the 45-minute bus route.

"This is the first time since I've been driving a school bus--and I've been driving since 1992--that all of PennDOT's roads in Brooklyn Township have been graded and repaired."

Anthony also says he'll save money. His tires will last longer, and he doesn't think the roads will jolt the bulbs out of the buses' headlights every four months. He credits our Newswatch 16's investigation in June.

"I don't know if they would have done these roads or not if I had not contacted you and you came out," Anthony added.

Anthony says PennDOT will also benefit. He believes those rocky roads were tough on PennDOT's plows that remove snow from those same dirt roads in the winter.

2 comments

  • roaddog81

    Filling in one washed out dirt road that was publicly identified by the media serves as no testimonial to the otherwise horribly maintained roads of the area. I ride on them like so many others and know better. Was this supposed to be validation to their non existent efforts? Not working.

  • George Lamprinos

    PA has the highest gas tax in the nation. Supposedly the extra taxes was to “fix the roads”. The state police got the money. Some counties are charging an extra $5 to “fix the roads”. Roads haven’t been fixed. Vehicle registration goes up each year. “To fix the roads”. Roads haven’t been fixed. Didn’t we legalize medicinal marijuana “to fix the roads”? IDK, I might be wrong there. But my point is ALL these taxes and the roads are still a mess.

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