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Southeast New York Stuff

It's been a while since I checked in, so here's an upd*te of roadly goodness from my little corner of the Empire State.

Interstate 86/NY 17: There are two fairly large scale projects in the NY 17 to Interstate 86 conversion. The first, better known one is the Parkesville Bypass in Sullivan County. Initial earthworks have started and forms are going up for bridge abutments. The freeway will be rerouted south of the existing dual carriageway. The project is expected to be finished by 2012. This will leave the Hale Eddy section in Delaware County as the last section with level junctions(a 2015 construction start date is expected on that section).

The other large scale-lesser known project is the rebuilding of the freeway from j116 at Bloomingburg to J121(IH 84) at Middletown. The easternmost part of this is pretty much complete from j121 west to west of the Silverlake-Scotchtown Road overpass. This part of the project included a new overpass to allow a connexion between the Middletown Galleria and the Orange Plaza, as well as flattening the road somewhat to allow for better sight lines, and upgrades to signs and mainline bridges.

The interesting thing in all this is a discrepancy in signage. The second project is in Orange County-NYSDOT Region 8. The new signs here carry both the IH 86 and NY 17 designations. Including the new gantry signs for j121. In Sullivan County-NYSDOT Region 9, new IH 86 signs are also going up east and west of the Parkesville project-these are covered, now; but they're on entirely new posts, as if to subsitute for the NY 17 designation. Perhaps the current NY 17 signs will be taken off the current posts and remounted below the new Interstate signs. Who knows? Another Region is completely removing the NY 17 designation from the freeway(according to a mole in NYSDOT), so who knows? One thing you can count on in NY is consistent inconsistency.

Also in that category: the Middletown project is sporting the new enhanced 1/10 milemarkers with directional designation and IH 86 shield; but below these, there are reference markers for NY 17(rather than Interstate 86). Go figure.

There is a LOT more to be done to bring NY 17 up to interstate snuff. There are reconstructions for junction 122(which will reduce, but not ameliorate the current substandard conditions), Junction 131, which will be a wacky parclo with loops galore to provide enhanced access to the Woodbury Commons Outlet shops, and the bonzer rework of the Kamikaze Curve at Binghamton, which will cost over 9000 million dollars.

Thruway ORT at Woodbury: Right now, the ORT gantry/Pedestrian Overpass is up. Walls and huge layers of tarmac are being laid on the IH 87 mainline. It appears there will be no less than 5 advance signs in each direction. Some are up, but they're covered. Including the signs for EXIT 16 which presently, don't sport IH 86 shields. This is being done pretty much on the cheap. The four center toll stations of the plaza will be removed; 10 of the existing lanes(and existing structure) will be retained. The Arden House Road overpass was modified, as the eastern piers of the bridge encroached on the planned wider roadway. They reconstructed the eastern bridge abutment, and reinstalled the existing girders; the center piers were also demolished and a single pier is in place. Hopefully they'll at least paint and clean up the existing girders.

IH 84/IH 87(Thruway) Link: This is done, save the conversion of the long offslip to NY 17K/NY 300 to an E-ZPass Only 'Local' slip. It's slightly better than linking to the IH 84 via NY 300; not by much, though. You trade dealing with the short NY 300 section for the weaving and odd lane drops on the link to the IH 84 in the new configuration. There is the new hazard of clowns without E-Zpass cutting in front of you with inches to spare if you're linking to the IH 87. That despite more than adequate signage. I suppose it will improve with time. There is adequate redundancy in case you should happen to make a wrong turn onto NY 300. Of course there may be a lot of fun when people accidentally take the 'local' offslip and come to a dead stop at the E-Zpass structure when they realise they don't have an E-ZPass. I'll wager there will be at least one incidence of someone reversing back into the mainline. The trumpet from the Thruway isn't going to be upgraded.

Another note on signage: the western control city for the IH 84 at both the Thruway and NY 17/IH 86 junctions has been changed to Scranton. Middletown and Port Jervis have been 86'd(ha,ha). Danbury(CT) is mentioned on an auxilliary sign at the Thruway junction. The new Thruway j17 signs are one-mile advances only(You'd think an Interstate junction would rate two-mile advances). Especially egregious is the northbound gantry sign on the IH 87 which was the first sign erected in the project, and originally had Middletown as a destination. They put green tape over 'Middletown', and then a plate with 'Scranton' in a smaller font size over that, so it really looks like it was just bunged on.

The Vineyard Avenue overpass in Highland is finished. The nifty 1937 concrete structure was replaced with a boring girder bridge. The new bridge has a box beam barrier-extending the 'dual' section of US 9W by about a half a mile or so(nearly to the US 44-NY 55 junction); and the advance junction sign, put up as a part of the 5-lane widening from the US 44-NY 55-US 9W junction, torn down and banged around and apparently forgotten for a bit, has reappeared-north of it's original location, essentially in the middle of a yard. It looks weird. There's a new advance assembly that advises you of an impending junction with NY 44 and NY 55 in place of the original JUNCTION sign.

The best project of the lot was the Farley bridge on US 9W in Stony Point in Rockland County. That one was on time-slightly ahead of time-it was torn down in March and back up by the end of October(November was promised). It wasn't 100% done: there's still some cosmetic work, and a third lane will eventually be striped; but it was done enough to be opened to traffic. A bonus to that project was the installation of a badly needed traffic light at the junction of Rockland County Highways 106(old NY 210) and 47.

And the project that is probably the most underrated by me, and likely unduly so; the reconstruction of junction 5 on the IH 84. Described by a certain poster on MTR as a king hell bonzer project, with 'new bridges and signals' and suchlike, it turned out to be considerably less. Actually, the eastbound offslip was modified into a hairpin-the bridge was widened to accomodate a longer deceleration lane, and the onslip was moved south. NY loves those sort of junctions, it seems. This is the fourth one of it's configuration on the freeway(j2-Mountain Road, j5A-NY 747 and j15-Lime Kiln Road/Dutchess County 27 are the other 3). Now there is sort of a plus to this, because it eliminates a signal on NY 208: it consolidates the freeway access with the junction for Neelytown Road(Orange County 99): so articulateds bound for the truck stops and distribution centers on Neelytown don't have to make any turns. They just go straight through at the light. Yellow Freight drivers, however get an extra left turn to deal with. No modifications will be made to the westbound j5.

More signage notes: at j5 new MUTCD standard junction signs are up with the shield and destinations(Scranton/Newburgh) a la CT and CA as opposed to standalone assemblies and destination signs. Oddly, new signs have also been installed at j10 on US 9W that follow the old pattern. Also, the signs on US 9W omit Beacon in favour of Fishkill. New signs are up NY 17K at j6 that indicate Danbury as a destination. Put That in yr pipe and smoke it.

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