Public airs opinion over 104E expansion project
The New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) held an open house Wednesday afternoon to obtain input from the community concerning the widening of Route 104 East between George Street and Kocher Road (County Route 63).
Between George Street and Kocher Road, Route 104 will be widened to two lanes on either side of the road, with turning lanes as the median of the road. Sidewalks will also be installed between George Street and City Line Road.
According to Stephen George of C&S Companies, the engineering company that has been hired by the DOT for this project, there will also be five-foot storage areas installed along Route 104. The storage areas would be located between the road and the sidewalk. George said that another part of the project is to interconnect the traffic signals along Route 104.
The construction for this project is slated to begin in 2010, George said, adding that most if not all of the construction should be finished by the end of 2010.
The project is federally funded and will be paid for by the DOT. “There is no local money on this project,” said Mary Vanouse, director of community development.
Michael Joyce, the newly elected 7th Ward alderman and also a member of the planning board, attended the open house. “What we really need is a road from Kocher Road to George Street,” Joyce said, noting that the planning board has previously discussed such a project. Joyce said that a connecting road like that would be ideal for truck deliveries and to divert some of the traffic off of Route 104.
Joe Trenca, a resident of 320 Route 104 East, is worried about the project cutting into his property. Trenca lives next to Burritt Automotive and almost directly across from Lowes. “(Lowes) took half of my front yard as it is,” Trenca said. “If they widen any more they’re going to be in my kitchen.”
The map of the project posted on the wall had a drawing of Trenca’s house with the words “Potential Displacement” near it. Trenca, who has lived in his house for 40 years, noted his disliking of the project. “This is the reason why we have open house,” said Cindy Bell, the DOT project engineer. “So we can take people’s concerns into consideration.”
Bell also said that there are a total of three other projects in the works to continue widening Route 104. “Eventually you’re going to have a nice corridor all the way through,” Bell said.