In response to a petition from local residents, the Ulster County Transportation Council (UCTC) has expedited the process involved in beginning construction for a project on South Putt Corners Road.
According to Ulster County Executive Michael Hein, the project was made a priority by town officials and residents in a petition because of its lack of shoulders and increasingly heavy traffic. Although the preparation process for the project was not scheduled to begin until 2014, New Paltz felt strongly that the South Putt Corners Road project be pushed forward.
“One of the most important things that elected officials can do is be responsive to the electorate,” said Hein, who offered an amendment to Ulster County’s Draft Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) earlier this month, allowing for the preparation process to begin.
“The road is used by pedestrians and bicyclists to access the school as well as the recently relocated police station,” said UCTC Planning Director Dennis Doyle. “The community identified the project as a high priority in its overall need to improve its transportation system.”
The preparation process for the project will include three phases before construction on the road can go underway.
The first phase is the accessing of funds, which UCTC has done by amending the TIP.
“Then, there will be a design phase which takes into consideration everything from what the road should look like to studying the traffic patterns, as well as traffic safety reports,” said Robert Sudlow, the deputy county executive. “And then, the next major concern will be what’s called right-of-way acquisition.”
Sudlow said right-of-way acquisition entails finding out if the extending of the road will requires acquiring property. And if so, the council must then do so in order to proceed with the project.
Doyle said that South Putt Corners Road is one of several areas New Paltz plans to improve. In a recent comprehensive plan the town completed, areas such as Route 299 and Manheim and Route 32 and Henry W. Dubois Drive are among the transportation-related initiatives New Paltz intends on working on. Increasing safety and making roads more pedestrian-friendly are the main goals of these projects.
According to Doyle, the design and right-of-way acquisition phases are expected to take about two years, with construction beginning in late 2014.
“The easiest part of the whole job is the paving itself,” said Sudlow. “It’s the preparation that takes up time.”
In a statement from the office of the Ulster County Executive, Hein praised the advancement of the South Putt Corners Road project.
“I am pleased that UCTC was able to find the necessary funds to begin this project, and that the amendment was accepted while allowing the county to continue to meet the other priorities for its transportation system,” he said. “The amendment continues my administration’s responsiveness to the entire county’s transportation needs.”