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Business owners worry over lengthy Route 611 closure

PennDOT officials say the cleanup is expected to take six months.

DELAWARE WATER GAP, Pa. — With no cars or pedestrians, Delaware Water Gap borough is a ghost town. It's something the people of the borough and its business owners are not used to.

A rockslide last month closed part of the road on Route 611 south between Delaware Water Gap in Monroe County and Portland in Northampton County.

Now, officials say the cleanup is expected to take six months.

"We cannot get to August. That's our whole season, and for me, it's the through traffic. If people driving through looking, seeing the store, and saying, 'Hey, look at that cute store,'" said Lauren Chamberlain, the owner of Asparagus Sunshine, a shop that sells antiques.

She says if the last slow holiday weekend was any indication of what the future holds, businesses here are in trouble.

"We're based on the river. We're based on hiking. We're based on the walk around the cute towns, and that has shut that off," Chamberlain said.

Peter Luck is the owner of the Pocono Daytripper, a trolley that starts at The Castle Inn in the borough. He says while the closure isn't impacting him now, it will when his season starts in the spring.

"Everybody loves going down to Portland and doing that walking bridge over the Delaware and all that's gone now. So, this road closure, I have to go from here over to Stroudsburg and then just kind of make some stuff up and use what have to keep the trolley running," Luck said.

Borough officials put up this sign, letting people know that places are open for business.

Part of Route 611 was also closed last spring when heavy rain caused damage.

"We've been through this, so we knew how hard it hit the businesses, and so the council went forward and said we need to make sure that people know because the signage that PennDOT has out, I mean, it's like doom and gloom," Chamberlain said.

The Appalachian Trail, the overlook at Resort Point in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, and all of the businesses in the borough are open.

PennDOT does not have a time frame yet on when work will begin.

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