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STONEY CREEK TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Wind and snow swept across the vast spaces of the Flight 93 Memorial through the Tower of Voices and past the flight path wall and the wall of names.
Despite the frigid biting conditions, visitors continue to arrive at the gate. Scott Eckersall is from Chino Hills, Calif.
“We wanted to come by because this is part of our history. September 11th is a momentous day so we wanted to stand here and see where this happened,” he said.
But Eckersall never got past the closed main gate. The park ranger on duty explained to him that due to the federal government shutdown, there is no one to clear the roads and sidewalks which are now ice- and snow-covered. So the Flight 93 Memorial is closed for safety reasons and the park ranger has padlocked the main gate.
Larry Goyda drove over from his home in Forest Hills and turned off Route 30 at the main entrance to find the closed gate.
“A little surprised that this place is closed given everything that is closed. You wouldn’t think something like a memorial would not be closed,” he said.
The restrooms and visitors center have been closed since the government shutdown began 20 days ago, but the ground remained open. But the incessant snow was more than the occasional spits of sun could handle, and with no maintenance staff available, the roads have become hazardous.
The Flight 93 Memorial is expected to remain closed until the shutdown ends and the maintenance staff returns, or someone volunteers to clear the roads for the National Parks Service, or mother nature melts away the hazard. Based on the forecast, that won’t be anytime soon.