News Department

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area announces $6.5M infrastructure investment to overhaul a main thoroughfare  

Great American Outdoors Act project to revitalize seven miles of US Route 209 will begin in the spring   

DELAWARE WATER GAP NATIONAL RECREATION AREA – The most heavily travelled section of the most heavily travelled road in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is about to receive a major upgrade made possible by the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA).

Work on a $6.5 million project to completely rehabilitate a seven-mile section of US Route 209 will begin in the spring of 2022 and is expected to be completed by the end of next year. It will be the first phase of a $21.5 million project to improve the park’s primary north-south route on the Pennsylvania side.

“This road project will modernize a vital piece of the park’s infrastructure and enhance safety and access for the millions of people who visit Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area each year and for local residents and commuters who use this road each day,” said Park Superintendent Sula Jacobs. ”It will address one of the largest and most expensive infrastructure needs in the park. Route 209 is top-priority road that serves as an emergency route for local communities and provides access to those communities and to popular recreational facilities located along the corridor, however it is currently in very poor condition with failing pavement, poor drainage, and numerous potholes.”

In this phase of the Route 209 project, the entire stretch of road between mile marker 0 in Middle Smithfield Township, Monroe County and mile marker 7 in Lehman Township, Pike County will be rehabilitated. Work will include milling the existing pavement, conducting full depth patch repair and spot base repair, culvert replacement, reconstruction of shoulders and line striping. The repair of the road surface, subsurface and drainage systems will extend the life of the road, eliminate the ongoing cost of frequent patching of potholes and other temporary corrective measures, and improve safety for motorists and bicyclists, including correcting the steep drop-offs on the road’s shoulders.

The project is being financed through GAOA’s National Parks and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund which, along with the recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and other construction funding sources, is part of a concerted effort to address the large maintenance backlog in national parks. When completed, this project is expected to eliminate $16.8 million of the maintenance backlog.

Supported by revenue from energy development, GAOA provides up to $1.9 billion per year for five years to make significant enhancements in national parks and other public lands to ensure their preservation and provide opportunities for recreation, education, and enjoyment for current and future visitors.

Most of the park’s maintenance backlog is related to its 84 miles of paved roads, parking lots, and bridges. In 2020, the park had 4.1 million visitors, making it the tenth most-visited national park in the country. Park visitors spent $144 million in local communities which supported 1,970 jobs and contributed a total economic output of $212 million in communities within 60 miles of the park. Route 209 is a critical artery for businesses in gateway communities that depend on visitor spending.

For more information on Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and site openings and closures, call Bushkill Meeting Center at 1-570-426-2452; visit their website or follow them on Facebook.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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