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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: June 5, 2015 05:14 PM
From: Senator Mario M. Scavello
To: All Senate members
Subject: Sullivan Bridge
In the future, I intend to introduce legislation naming the bridge located on PA Route 940, at Pocono Lake in Tobyhanna Township, Monroe County, as “Sullivan Bridge.”

Today unnamed and unmarked, this bridge is located on PA Route 940, at Pocono Lake in Tobyhanna Township, Monroe County. This highway bridge crosses the main streambed of Tobyhanna Creek, and connects a land causeway that transverses Pocono Lake. Route 940, its bridge and the causeway divides Pocono Lake into two sections.

In 1779 General George Washington ordered General John Sullivan to take approximately 30% of the Continental Army into Upstate New York. Its purpose was to squash the aligned British and Six Nations of the Iroquois, who were invading into Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania, killing hundreds of military and civilians. The ultimate goal of the British was to gain control of the Susquehanna River from Upstate New York to Baltimore, splitting the colonies to end the rebellion.

As the Army gathered in Easton, PA, there was no road over the Pocono Mountains to accommodate thousands of troops, horses, wagons, cannons and supplies. Two regiments of 500 military road builders accomplished the task in just six weeks, from Tannersville to Wilkes-Barre. It was desolate forests and swamps, requiring a herculean effort with just hand tools. The worst section, known as the Great Swamp, was located in today’s Tobyhanna Township. The only bridge they needed to construct for the new road was over the Tobyhanna Creek. It was immediately named Sullivan Bridge by the construction army. But through the years, that name has been temporarily lost. It now must be restored.

Sullivan’s Expedition was a success, remarkably with less than 50 casualty deaths. It stopped the British in their tracks, contributing significantly to the birth of our nation. And, equally impressive is that this new road, Sullivan’s Trail over the Pocono Mountain, opened the region to settlement and development by connecting northeastern Pennsylvania and Upstate New York to the Philadelphia area and its port.

Today, Sullivan Bridge continues to significantly serve the region. Route 940 provides a great deal of access to western Monroe County and points beyond. It serves as the major alternative to I-80 in cases of emergencies on that heavily traveled interstate highway. And it is at the center of recreational tourism for the Poconos, allowing thousands to enjoy our streams and lakes, forests, and all that abounds in the area.

This bridge, named for General John Sullivan, will represent our region’s vital role in preserving our nation’s independence, then, now and into the future.

Please join me in naming this important part of history, Sullivan Bridge.

If you have any questions regarding this legislation, please contact Christine Zubeck in my office at 717-787-6123 or czubeck@pasen.gov. Thank you for your consideration.

Introduced as SB894