HANOVER TWP. — First and foremost, there are the potholes.
Anyone who drives the Sans Souci Parkway on a regular basis knows that the surface of the road is a rutted and scarred mess.
“It’s the potholes,” said Joe Lasecki Jr., owner of Nimrod Haven Sporting Goods.
Lasecki says he knows friends who will go way out of their way to avoid the road, and some loyal customers who put off coming in for the same reason.
He even said the pounding of large trucks over the ruts has impacted his building.
“My God, I’ve got cracks in my walls,” Lasecki said.
He has a pretty good idea about what has to be done, too: Mill the road all the way down to the base and repave the thing anew.
Guess what? The state Department of Transportation agrees.
“He’s 100% right,” PennDOT spokesman James May said Friday when told of Lasecki’s comments. “That road needs a full-depth reclamation.”
Problem is, the Sans Souci isn’t going to be getting an FDR, as PennDOT calls it, anytime soon. It isn’t scheduled for such an overhaul until 2024 or 2025, May said.
“There just isn’t money in the budget to do it,” said May, who didn’t immediately know what such an extensive project would cost.
In the interim, a repaving project is set to take place on the road this summer, he said.
That project is scheduled to be bid out in early June, May added, with work expected to begin in July.
And that is, May acknowledges, a temporary fix designed to help get by until in-depth work can be undertaken.
“It’s just a very, very old road,” he said.
Separately, May also acknowledged another issue: Traffic congestion caused by an excavation project in the middle of the parkway south of Oxford Street and West End Road.
That stalled work is actually a Verizon project involving underground lines. May on Friday did not have new information as to when it will resume and be completed, but said PennDOT is working with the telecommunications company to get answers.
“When people see a work zone, they assume it’s PennDOT,” he added.
That may be cold comfort to local business people have been feeling the pinch.
John Saba, manager at Thrifty Beverage, has seen business drop after the barricades erected on the parkway earlier this year prevented motorists from making a left turn into the parking lot from the southbound lane of the road.
“If people are going by in the evening, going toward Nanticoke, they’re more likely to just keep going by,” Saba said, adding that he thinks many drivers just don’t want to try to turn around further down the parkway to circle back to get beer.
Saba said in the 10 weeks the barricades have been up, he only saw anyone working on the project for the first two. Now, he’s just hoping the road gets fixed before the summer, which he said is the beer distributor’s busy season.
“Thankfully it happened during our slow time,” he said.
Further down the Sans Souci at Don’s Deli, assistant manager Tom Welki said the project has hurt business, but he’s more concerned about someone getting hurt.
“It’s a dangerous set-up,” Welki said.
In order to get around the barricades, Welki said, motorists have taken to making illegal U-turns, and he’s witnessed more than a few of these almost turn into accidents.
“I don’t know how many near-misses there were,” he said.
Don’s Deli isn’t blocked by the barricades, but he said business has been hurt by people just avoiding the Sans Souci entirely.
Welki said, though, that the business has plenty of loyal customers to keep them busy.
Back at Nimrod Haven, Lasecki said the road has simply been allowed to deteriorate for far too long with only patches and temporary fixes.
“The state ought to be ashamed of that road,” he said. “It is deplorable.”