Efforts to make South Putt Corners Road safer are underway; Ulster County lawmakers approved resolutions to spend an additional $635,326 on the project, which was originally estimated at $3.95 million.
“I’m glad the county has decided to put their effort into this,” said Town Supervisor Neil Bettez. “It’s very important to the county executive and I agree with him.”
South Putt Corners Road is a highly travelled road, but it has not been altered from its original state in decades according to Ulster County Executive Mike Hein. New Paltz High School is also on the road, creating additional concerns for pedestrian safety.
Additionally, the county is working with the State Department of Transportation to connect the Rail Trail system to the Walkway Over the Hudson, Hein said. The entrance of interest is in the immediate area of South Putt Corners Road.
The road in its current state is a relatively narrow two lane road. The project seeks to expand the road with six foot wide shoulders on each side and turning lanes at the high school and NY-32.
According to Hein, this project has a price tag of $4.1 million; of that $4.1 million, a majority of it is federal aid (about $3.3 million).The rest of the funds are from the state ($410,000) and Ulster County which is about $410,000 as well.
“That pool of money will fund the $4.1 million project and get to place where we have a much safer route, not just for today, but long into the future,” Hein said. “That’s the goal when we reengineer in any of these infrastructure projects, all of this is designed with our eyes toward the future.”
According to Hein, there are many costs for this project. Telephones poles will have to be moved dramatically and there are drainage costs as with any construction project. Because there are private property owners on the road, there is land acquisition that must take place in order to accumulate the property rights to expand the road’s shoulders.
Hein said that he expects construction to start very soon and with the rough time table established, it should be completed by the midpoint of next year.
“Rather than doing a simple resurfacing of what’s already there, we have a basic philosophy that to fix a road is to completely reengineer it if that’s what’s necessary,” he said. “We want to drastically increase safety with turning lanes… We want to make sure there are, not just slightly wider roads, but significantly wider roads for pedestrians, bikers, joggers and the like, all designed to make it a substantially safer road for everyone, bicyclists, joggers, walkers, hikers and drivers alike.”