POMFRET – The Department of Transportation is looking to rollout traffic improvements to a stretch of Route 60 in Northern Chautauqua County.
The proposed project includes widening Route 60 to accommodate a center, two-way left-turn lane between Route 83 and Route 20.
From April 2016 to May of 2019, there have been 87 crashes along the northern part of Route 60 in Chautauqua County.
“There’ve been a lot of serious and fatal accidents that have occurred over the decades here between 60 and 20 and that stretch to Route 83,” explains Fredonia Mayor and longtime volunteer firefighter, Douglas Essek.
The project is only modifying the current road footprint, and therefore, no residents would be losing land from their properties. However, concerns remain from some like Joseph Atti.
“Right now, my front porch that we just rebuilt is 21 feet to the edge of the road. They’re telling me they’re gonna take six more feet right in front of my house. It will literally be almost to my sidewalk where I walk in the front door, there’s gonna be road,” explains Atti. “And right now when the plows go by the snow almost hits our porch already, so you’re talking about 50 miles per hour plows going by our house throwing snow on my porch.”
Traffic control improvements are not the only thing proposed, the State DOT also plans to rollout new pedestrian safety enhancements as well.
“With the addition of some sidewalk from Route 20 to McAllister Road. And we’re also gonna be making drainage improvements. We’re gonna be replacing a culvert and lengthening two other culverts on the project,” explained Susan Surdej, a DOT spokesperson.
The DOT assured residents that they’re concerns regarding traffic lights will be investigated to see if the areas warrant the new fixtures. However, the DOT believes the center, two-way left-turn lane is the best way to prevent the types of crashes that are common in this area.
“The types of crashes that we see most often are those people that are stopped waiting to make a left-hand turn and because it’s a single lane in each direction, the traffic behind them has to stop,” explains Surdej. “Sometimes they realize they have to stop and sometimes they don’t.”
The plan will cost approximately $5.4 million dollars of state and federal funding. If accepted, the DOT is expected to begin construction in Summer 2022 and be completed in Winter 2023.
Roadside work will additionally re-establish the existing drainage ditches and pipes to accommodate the widening. The entire project area will also be repaved.