Professional divers took to the waters of the Youghiogheny River last week to remove debris that accumulated in the river during construction of the multimodal project at Ohiopyle State Park.

The Wednesday effort was coordinated by community organizations, the state Department of Transportation, the park, Mount Watershed Association and the office of state Rep. Matthew Dowling, R-Uniontown.

“I am happy to see that the completion of this cleanup will result is a safer river for park goers and boaters,” said Dowling. “Since my office first received word of the construction remains found in the river, we have worked with the park, PennDOT and others to see that the issue was resolved.”

Kenneth Bisbee, park operations manager of Ohiopyle, said the cleanup has been a multifaceted effort. PennDOT, Plum Construction (who were contractors for the project), the Pennsylvania Outdoor Corps and the park all joined in a five-day cleanup following the project’s wrap in July. Periodic run-throughs to collect debris have been performed, by both the park and others, since then.

“Much appreciation is also due to local boaters, outfitters and the Mountain Watershed Association for the many impromptu cleanups since July. As a steward of the resources within Ohiopyle State Park, it is very gratifying to see how many people appreciate and respect the river and are willing to do what it takes to keep it clean and safe,” Bisbee said.

“PennDOT is grateful for all the efforts of so many caring people throughout this project,” said Bill Beaumariage, assistance district executive at PennDOT District 12. “We are humbled at the beauty of this area and hope the improvements will enhance the visitors’ experience while also making it safer. We want to thank our partners who helped to deliver this project, and we are proud to turn these improvements over to the public to enjoy for years to come.”

The cleanup was handled by professional contractors Skelly and Loy, Inc.

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