DELAWARE WATER GAP NATIONAL RECREATION AREA – Extensive repairs to a seven-mile section of US Route 209 within Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area will begin this week and are expected to be completed by the end of the year.
The work is funded by the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) and is part of an overall project estimated at over $21 million to completely rehabilitate 14 miles of the primary north-south artery and emergency access route through the park over the next two years.
“Repairs to 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,” said Sula Jacobs, park superintendent. “When completed, motorists will have a much smoother, safer, and enjoyable drive.”
Work will include milling the existing pavement, conducting full depth patch repair and spot base repair, culvert replacement, reconstruction of shoulders, and line striping. During construction, motorists may experience delays and should allow extra time to get to and from their destinations if using Route 209, though contractors will make every effort to keep inconveniences to a minimum. Full road closures, detours, and temporary traffic lights are not anticipated; single lane closures with flaggers will be used instead.
The first phase of the project will take place this year on the southernmost and most heavily travelled section of the federal highway. 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. Starting the week of March 10, contractors will begin staging equipment and materials and surveying and marking the road. Full-scale construction schedules will be announced once surveying is complete.
The second phase of the project includes repairs to US Route 209 between mile marker 13.7 in Delaware Township and mile marker 20.2 in Dingman Township. Preliminary work is underway, and the construction phase will take place in 2023.
This critical infrastructure project is being financed through GAOA’s National Parks and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund. Supported by revenue from energy development, the fund 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. GAOA, 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 reduce approximately $16.8 million in deferred maintenance, most of which is related to 84 miles of park-owned paved roads, parking lots, and bridges. In 2021, the park had 4.3 million visitors, making it the fifteenth most-visited national park in the country. Visitor spending contributes more than $200 million in total economic output in communities within 60 miles of the park. Route 209 is a critical artery for businesses in gateway communities that depend on visitor spending and its positive economic affects.
For more information on Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, call 1-570-426-2452; visit thier website at www.nps.gov/dewa; or follow on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/DelWaterGapNPS and Instagram at www.Instagram.com/DelWaterGapNPS.