DELAWARE WATER GAP NATIONAL RECREATION AREA – A section of US Route 209 between Raymondskill Road and Route 739 within Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area will be closed as of 8:30 a.m. Thursday due to a damaged culvert that has increased erosion of the slope between the road and Delaware River near Mile Marker 17.
The road will remain closed until further assessments can be completed and safety measures can be put in place. In the meantime, motorists should choose alternate routes such as Route 739, Milford Road, and Raymondskill Road. Detour signs will be posted Thursday.
“Assessments conducted in this area by park staff and the Federal Highway Administration over the past few months have indicated that the slope between Route 209 and the Delaware River continues to erode and shift as a result of a damaged culvert and outflow pipe, several high-water events, and other conditions at the site,” said Deputy Superintendent Eamon Leighty. The Park will conduct comprehensive assessments of the area over the next several weeks to determine what repairs will be needed. This section of road is scheduled for a complete rehabilitation in 2023 with funding from the Great American Outdoors Act.
While the park is known in part for its striking geologic features, park scientist Jonathan Malzone, Ph.D., points out that Route 209 at Mile Marker 17 is situated in a challenging environment for preserving the road and the nearby riverbank.
“The soil here is composed of loose material that has eroded from the rocky cliffs nearby. Because the soil is very loose and forms a steep bank, stormwater has been able to wash away material and make the slopes unstable,” Malzone said.
According to Malzone, this area has historically experienced landslides and washouts for these reasons. Route 209 was closed for 11 months beginning in 2011 due to a similar issue at Mile Marker 15.
For more information on Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, call 570-426-2452; visit their website at www.nps.gov/dewa; or follow us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/DelWaterGapNPS and Instagram at www.Instagram.com/DelWaterGapNPS.