RUSSELL, Pa. – Months of debate and discussion could soon be coming to an end as the Pine Grove Township Supervisors inch closer to a decision on the fate of Big Four Road.
Supervisors have been weighing whether to keep the road open and maintain it during winter months (there is currently no winter maintenance) or closing the road. During their regular meeting Wednesday, Township Supervisors picked up the discussion again after hearing comments from concerned residents.
Chris Seymour described witnessing several issues while walking the road with his children.
“I couldn’t believe the amount of beer cans,” Seymour said. “My boys and I picked up approximately eight cases of beer cans in the first mile.”
Another resident, Jim Ceder, presented photos of some of the beer cans and other trash that has been dumped on the road.
“It’s nothing more than a dumping ground for a lot of people,” Chairman Carmen Ferranto said.
Seymour’s secondary concern was the lack of posted speed limit signs.
“Personally, I love that road,” Seymour said. “I fear for the safety of any pedestrian, whether it’s a kid or an adult. I fear for their safety.”
Ferranto said the supervisors have been looking into a number of options for what to do with the road.
“The one thing we were considering was just closing it, and maintaining it in case it had to be open for any reason for emergency vehicles,” Ferranto said. “But further looking at the regulations and laws, we either have to abandon the road or keep it open.”
If the road were to be closed, one option might be to turn the road over to property owners and request a 99-year right-of-way for recreational use.
“It would be gated off avenues for recreation, and it’d be closed permanently, and would no longer be a township road,” Ferranto said.
The cost to keep Big Four as a township road may be more than the township is willing to bear.
“The other alternative is, if we keep the road open, the state’s going to come in and they’re going to tell us we need to improve the road to meet code,” Vice-Chairman Doug Smith said. “And we talked the other day, conservatively, that’s going to be well over a million dollars.”
Ferranto said the plan is to hold a public hearing in late April or early May before making a final decision.