$5M project to make Schoharie intersections safer

If a proposed $5.1 million project to realign two key intersections along state Route 30 is compl

PHOTOGRAPHER:

If a proposed $5.1 million project to realign two key intersections along state Route 30 is completed, state highway engineers say drivers will have a safer ride in a couple of years.

Plans include converting a confusing curve where Route 30A splits off of Route 30 into a more traditional T-style intersection, according to state Department of Transportation regional project director Ronald Romanosky.

A similar change is planned at Vrooman Corners, where state Route 443 coming from the Gallupville area meets Route 30.

“These two intersections have accident rates that are greater than the state average,” Romanosky said.

Both main routes continue north toward the Mohawk Valley, but 30A carries more traffic to meet Interstate 88 at exit 23.

Drivers unfamiliar with the split, especially on foggy nights, may be taken by surprise, local motorists say.

Between May 1, 1998, and April 30, 2001, the area was the scene of 27 accidents, DOT records show.

The meeting of routes 30 and 443 involves “a series of complicated, closely-spaced multi-leg intersections along Route 30,” according to the project proposals.

Two intersecting legs are part of Route 443 and the third is local Vrooman Road.

There were 19 accidents in the three-year period around that intersection.

“There’s a real accident problem at both intersections,” Romanosky said.

The accident rate is more than twice the state average for T-type intersections, the DOT determined.

Simplified intersections are also expected to improve the visibility of oncoming traffic.

During a recent hearing, town Supervisor Martin Shrederis said the Route 443 plans seemed appropriate.

That project includes an additional roadway and gravel parking lot north of the historic covered bridge over Fox Creek.

Shrederis, a school bus mechanic at the Berne-Knox-Westerloo Central School District, said he has some concern that large trucks might have trouble stopping coming down a steep Route 30 hill north of the Route 30A split.

Shrederis suggested redirecting southbound truck traffic onto state Route 7 north of I-88, to where it joins 30A to proceed south.

The possibility of such a truck route will be considered, according to DOT spokesman David Hamburg.

Responding to another suggestion, DOT will also review accident rates in the Barton Hill Road area, although that is currently not in the project area.

Current designs include adding left-turn lanes for southbound motorists to turn onto Route 30 and northbound motorists turning into The Apple Barrel store.

A wetland at routes 30/30A will be expanded to mitigate project impacts.

Route 443 will be realigned with Route 30 to form a conventional intersection. The existing intersection configuration will be removed and turf will be planted.

A left-turn lane will be added for southbound motorists turning onto Route 443. Access to Route 443 via Vrooman Cross Road will be eliminated.

Some land acquisitions will be required, but no buildings will be affected, according to Romanosky.

Once comments are reviewed and any changes made, final designs will be prepared this summer, Hamburg said.

Construction isn’t expected to begin until Spring 2010, with completion that fall.

The roads are slated to remain open during construction, with alternating one-way traffic during work periods.

The design report is available at Schoharie Town Hall, the county Planning and Development Agency and the Mary B. Cushing Library in Schoharie. It’s also online at: www.nysdot.gov/portal/page/portal/regional-offices/region9/projects.

Categories: Schenectady County

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