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What you need to know for 08/20/2017

Amsterdam road project disrupts traffic

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Amsterdam road project disrupts traffic

Traffic congestion and a bumpy ride are among the downsides of major roadwork under way in the city

Traffic congestion and a bumpy ride are among the downsides of major roadwork under way in the city of Amsterdam.

The state Department of Transportation is revamping the traffic patterns around the intersections of state Routes 30 and 5 as part of a roughly $3.37 million project.

Some two-lane traffic is being cut down to one lane, leading to slowdowns and, as some road sections are being ground up and prepared for paving, the ride is bumpy.

Despite the disruption, DOT spokesman Jim Piccola in an email last week said people in and around Amsterdam appear to be patient and there have been no complaints.

“Working in the city has its hurdles but the residents of the city of Amsterdam have been great and we are finally starting to see the fruits of our labors,” Piccola said.

He said the DOT urges motorists to keep an eye out for the workers and maintain a heightened sense of awareness while driving in work zones.

Curbing in some places where there wasn’t curbing, and lanes barricaded with orange cones and barrels give drivers a hint at what’s in store: an easier way to get around the city.

Under current traffic routes, there’s one-way traffic from state Route 5 between Liberty and Wall streets, as well as on state Route 30 from East Main to the intersection with Route 5.

As it is, it results in people either driving in circles to get downtown or missing the downtown business area altogether, a situation expected to change once the project is complete.

Route 5 from Liberty Street west to Wall Street will be changed to a two-way street, as will state Route 30 from East Main to its connection to Route 5.

Mayor Anne Thane said a bit of patience now will lead to marked improvements that will reverse what was once seen as an improvement and is now simply hurting some local businesses.

The current traffic patterns were established decades ago, Thane said.

“It was well-intentioned but the consequences have been far-reaching. What we’re trying to do now is remedy some of this,” Thane said.

Thane said the new traffic patterns and paving will mark a first step in a transformation taking place in the city, along with a new pedestrian bridge and, farther into the future, a new Amtrak train station downtown.

“All of these efforts are targeted toward the revitalization of our downtown,” Thane said.

The project, initially scheduled to be finished at the end of May, will likely extend to the end of June, Piccola said.

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