CONYGHAM TOWNSHIP, COLUMBIA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) Graffiti Highway near Centralia has been a hidden gem in Columbia County over the last two decades, until today.
On Monday, trucks pulled in to dump loads of material on the near mile-long abandoned highway.
“If you get rid of the attraction, people won’t come anymore,” said Vincent Guarna, President of Fox Coal Company.
State and local police surrounded the entrance near Centralia as trucks pulled in and out. Contractor Vincent Guarna tells me the property owner, Pagnotti Enterprise, hired his company to cover the road to eliminate hazards.
“People just came at random and did anything they wanted to do here,” Guarna said.
Since 1993, this part of Route 61 in Conyngham Township has been closed. Shortly after, it became a location where individuals would spraypaint names and pictures onto the abandoned road, eventually giving it the name “graffiti highway”. Pretty soon that will just be another piece of history.
Dave Cantwell of Minersville says he has endless memories at Graffiti Highway, always showing off the site to people who visit from out of town.
“It’s just really disappointing to see that a lot of people ruin a good thing for a lot of other people, you know? We will never be able to see that again,” he said.
Amid this COVID-19 pandemic, large numbers of people congregated on Graffiti Highway, despite social distancing guidelines.
Guarna says the decision to cover the road was based mainly on it being a liability issue.
“If you come up here and somebody gets hurt, the first thing they do, they’ll sue you. And thats where we want to get away from,” he told Eyewitness News.
By the end of this week, this road will have about 400 loads of material covering up the abandoned road. The loads of material will be smoothed down to cover the road.
If a person is found on Graffiti Highway, they can be charged and fined for trespassing.