We can fix the bridge if the other homeowners pay their share

| 03 May 2021 | 12:06

Editor’s note: This letter by the Wycoff Lane bridge owner is in response to last week’s article “Five households are trapped on the wrong side of a dangerous bridge.”

To the Editor:

In response to the article about the bridge on Wycoff Lane, I am the owner of the bridge and never refused to repair the bridge. I cannot financially pay the necessary engineering firm required to do the permit application fee of $1,500 to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), then add the cost of the contractor to do the necessary repairs.

I have spoken with the PA DEP in person in the Scranton office with my neighbor Barbara Alaimo about the necessity of several of the assessments they required that would push the engineering costs to excessive amounts. Considering the fact the repairs would not in any way affect the water in the brook, I spoke with two different contractors about the repairs. They cannot touch the bridge without the permit. The second contractor advised the signage on the bridge restricting trucks for the safety of the bridge.

Unfortunately I am not able to secure the necessary funds for repairs due to the fact that I remortgaged to pay the medical fees after two bouts of cancer that finally took my husband’s life. The equity in my home is just not there. If the three other homeowners on the property were willing to pay their share, we could go forward with the process. I cannot afford to do this alone.

I also have my heating oil and had three different ambulance calls for my grandson. I put him in the car and met the ambulances on the bridge approach so they did not have to cross the bridge. Everyone this side of the bridge has had to deal with this.

I want this bridge repaired just as much as my neighbors. I do need help and have tried several requests to political figures to see what my options would be, but to no avail. I was never even afforded a return phone call to say we cannot help you.

I am extremely upset that I was portrayed as uncaring by people that were aware of my attempts to get help. I know they are upset and frustrated, and so am I.

But perhaps if they were willing to help instead of blaming, we could have a safe bridge again. The remark of no bridge repairs was also incorrect due to the replacement of planking and runners. Mr. Bagley and Mrs. Alaimo assisted me in finding a vendor to order the planking. Also incorrect was the remark I rent two properties. I rent only the former home of my parents. I was planning to sell it, but rented to a neighborhood couple who were in need of housing because their rental was being sold.

I am totally open to anyone willing to help or share resources leading to the repair of the bridge. Please write to me at P.O. Box 449, Milford, PA 18337. At today’s prices, bridge repairs could be upwards of $40,000. As a 74-year-old retired widow raising a special-needs grandson, the expectation that I can do this on my own is an unreasonable expectation.


Babette Smith

Dingman Township