State: Highway project won't disturb discovered remains

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

POTTSVILLE, Pa. -- The state transportation department says a road-widening project won't disturb hundreds of human remains found in nearby unmarked graves.

PennDOT said Tuesday it'll resume work on Route 61 in Schuylkill County while taking steps to ensure there are no further impacts to the remains.

Road workers cutting an embankment near Schuylkill Haven discovered the remains on Aug. 13, after a rainstorm washed away the dirt.

Schuylkill County Coroner David Moylan says the bodies on the 2-acre property are believed to be of people killed by a 1918 Spanish flu outbreak.

More than 1,000 county residents died.

PennDOT says it decided against moving the graves after getting input from the public, the local coroner, the Federal Highway Administration and the state's Historical and Museum Commission.

County officials are considering placing a historical marker.