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NYS DOT Warns of Traffic for Taconic Rehab Project

YORKTOWN, N.Y. — Local residents who travel the Taconic or live in surrounding towns heard what they already suspected about the impending rehabilitation of the northbound AMVETS bridge over the Croton Reservoir — the project will cause major disruption.

In a public information session held at the Jefferson Valley Mall Thursday about the project, slated to start March 26, sympathetic officials from the New York State Department of Transportation explained the significance of the project.

“We know it will be an inconvenience for you, we know it will be most inconvenient during the morning and evening rush hours, which is why we want to talk to you about the alternatives for detours and what the construction is going to entail,” said NYS DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald.

Officials explained the project, which will continue until Nov. 9, will shift all northbound traffic on the Taconic State Parkway to the southbound Taconic State Parkway, starting at Pines Bridge Road and then shifting back just south of Underhill Avenue. The project will turn the current three-lane strip going south into a four lane road, where each direction will have two lanes. There will be a jersey barrier in between the directions, which will have the capability to be moved or removed should officials need to.

The bridge was built in 1931, was last repaired by the DOT in 1989 and caries 32,000 vehicles a day. The age of the bridge, as well as the volume of vehicles it carries, has contributed to the deterioration and need to fix it, said Sandra Jobson, the environmental manager for the project.

Nick Choubah, the DOT's design engineer for the project, explained the work will replace everything below the truss, will rehabilitate the towers on the bridge and will pave the roadway.

Hans Priebe, construction manager for the project, said due to the current volume of cars traveling on the bridge, alternative routes must be explored to prevent backups.

“The Taconic with two lanes in each direction can handle most of the daytime traffic except for the peak time hours and that’s when we’re anticipating some backups,” he said. “We’re anticipating the capacity of what we’re going to propose is 3,800, so basically what we’re left with is 2,200 cars that will have to seek alternate route, otherwise the back-up will be five, 10 miles.”

George Ondek, a resident who spoke at the information session, said he didn’t travel the bridge at peak times, but is concerned about what will happen if there is an accident.

“I’m really concerned about the traffic and the backup it will cause into Cortlandt, Peekskill and Yorktown,” Ondek said. “ I think it’s going to create quite a congestion in each one of those towns and I’m concerned if there’s a major accident I fear with only four lanes two in each direction people could be tied up for five, six, seven hours."

To mitigate and keep control of traffic situations, Priebe said a number of different monitors have been installed on alternate routes, highways and the Taconic to let officials know of traffic, accidents and to keep the public informed of current conditions. There will be 10 emergency pull offs for disabled cars or police needs, an on-site tow truck during peak commuter hours and three median barrier gates emergency vehicles can get through.

Priebe also explained that if the contracting company finishes the job 30 days earlier than the deadline of Nov. 9 they will receive $33,000 per day and should they go over deadline, they will be charged $33,000 a day.

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