STUYVESANT–The state Department of Transportation has decided to install a traffic light at the intersection of state Route 9J and Ferry Road. The announcement drew unanimous applause from the more than 30 town residents gathered at Town Hall for the second public meeting with state officials on what actions the state would take to upgrade safety at the intersection, which also involves a railroad crossing.
In a press release issued at the time of the October 12 meeting, the DOT announced that it is no longer considering the other six other options for the intersection, one of which would have permanently closed Ferry Road, a 1,600-foot-long lane the ends on the banks of the Hudson River, and led to the condemnation and demolition of the handful of private homes on the road.
The fate of the road and changes to the intersection have been under discussion by the agency since 1996.
After the meeting Stuyvesant resident John Hutchinson, who had faced the possibility that the state might take his Ferry Road home under the power eminent domain, said after the meeting, “Friday was a real resolution and frankly I’m relieved.”
He added that the decision is a welcome resolution to the uncertainty that he and many others have been living with for many years.
Theresa Dewey, the DOT project public involvement coordinator, began the October 12 meeting, called Workshop 2, saying “Tonight is to discuss what we learned from Workshop 1 and where we want to go from here.”
At that initial meeting residents were asked to vote on all seven options ranging from doing nothing (Option 1) and installing a light (Option 2) to closing the road, moving the state highway or building an overpass. Options 1 and 2 received the most votes.
Mark Kruk, project engineer for DOT, discussed how the concept report after the first workshop was sent to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which did not like several of the more extensive proposals but approve of installing a light. The DEC’s position will be included in the final scoping report and will be in the transportation department’ s final recommendation, said Mr. Kruk. Placing a traffic light at the intersection will improve safety with minimal impact and no private property damage. Mr. Kruk explained that the new light red/yellow/green light system will include vehicle detection and be coordinated with the railroad gates. Moreover, a mast arm structure will be installed on southeast corner along with an advanced signal flashing yellow light approximately 425 feet ahead of the intersection. Mr. Kruk said delays associated with the new traffic signal will be minimal since peak volume on Route 9J is less than 40 vehicles an hour.
Ms. Dewey, said the next step is to continue to develop the traffic light concept, since there is still design work to do as well as property boundaries issues to resolve. If it all goes as planned, construction will begin in the summer of 2015. But she said the state must coordinate the project with the railroad, and Amtrak is taking over control of the tracks from CSX on November 5.