Residents Vow to Fight Scranton Beltway Project

SOUTH ABINGTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. — People living in the Woodcrest Estates development in South Abington Township say they will fight the Scranton Beltway Project.

“We’re doing everything to fight it. We’re not going. We’re not. We’re not leaving here. My husband and I have been here 41 years. We built this house from scratch. Our children have grown up here, and we’re not moving,” said Ann Tompkins of South Abington Township.

Pennsylvania Turnpike officials say to ease traffic on Interstate 81, two new connections to the turnpike will be built, one in the Dupont/Pittston Township area in Luzerne County, the other in South Abington Township in Lackawanna County.

Dozens of residents got certified letters about turnpike workers testing and studying their properties. People worry their homes will be taken for the project under the government’s eminent domain laws.

“I’m a combat veteran as you can see my statue and flags constantly fly. I spent seven years in. My son spent 25 years in. We’ve always been a military family. We went. We did it. I volunteered, and he volunteered, and this is what I get?” said Walter Tompkins of South Abington Township.

Folks sounded off at a South Abington Township meeting Monday night, urging local leaders to join the fight.

South Abington leaders say they don’t want the beltway either, so they asked seven residents to form a special committee so they too can meet with turnpike officials to ask questions and express concerns.

Turnpike officials say it is too early to say if any properties will be affected or how many.

The project isn’t slated for construction until 2023.

Noelle Register just bought a home in Woodcrest Estates a few months ago. She says she never received a letter. She just learned about the turnpike project. She is worried she’ll lose her new home.

“A little overwhelmed at the possibility the new house that I just bought for my family might not be here, and I don’t know for how long it could be here or not be here,” she said.

Turnpike officials say if they do take any properties for this project, they will buy them at fair market value. There is an online petition to stop the Scranton beltway. There are currently nearly 10,000 signatures.