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The Best Gifts from Schoharie County

Showing posts with label roadwork. Show all posts
Showing posts with label roadwork. Show all posts

Opinion: Build the Bridge

Written By Cicero on 4/24/15 | 4/24/15


For two months the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors has heard public comments and concerns on the proposed rebuilding of the Shady Tree Lane Bridge in the Town of Cobleskill.

Currently, the old structure stands as a useless span of rusted and unsafe metal from Barnerville Road to Shady Tree Lane, a visual reminder of the cost of government inaction almost seven years after the bridge was closed.

Some residents and supervisors are opposed to the new bridge because it would require the county to use the unpopular process of eminent domain, while others question the need to replace the structure altogether.

Supporters of the project have urged the county to move forward to reduce the time it takes emergency responders to reach Barnerville Road, which has been cut off before by train to both fire and ambulance squads.

Countless residents, many of whom are elderly, have personally testified to the dangers of not having this bridge in place, because minutes re-routing responders in an emergency situation could be the difference between life and death.

Not only that, but if the county does not move forward with the project it will cost local taxpayers approximately $400,000 in grants the county will be responsible to pay back. An additional tax burden we simply cannot afford.

Ultimately, when you look at the affected residents on either side of the creek, the only individuals opposed are those who will lose portions of their property. We sympathize with them, but there is a greater good to consider.

Take for instance the following example: say one of their elderly neighbors on Barnerville Road has a heart attack and a train is just then passing by, delaying emergency responders for five minutes and resulting in that neighbor's death.

A death that could be prevented by the construction of this new bridge. That is why, in this case, we favor the county's use of eminent domain and the immediate building of the Shady Tree Lane Bridge project to occur as soon as possible. 

Supers, Residents Divided on Proposed Cobleskill Bridge

Written By Cicero on 4/6/15 | 4/6/15


Cobleskill residents remain divided on whether a new bridge is needed to connect Shady Tree Lane and Barnerville Road, with some urging the project forward to cut down on emergency response time while others disagreed with the county's intended use of eminent domain.

Informing residents that a final decision by the Board of Supervisors would have to be delayed until the April county board meeting, County Attorney Mike West explained that the continuance is because the necessary appraisals of disputed properties have not yet been completed.

That did not prevent homeowners or legislators from chiming in at Tuesday's public hearing, however. 

Broome Supervisor Bill Smith was having none of it. Stating that he is "not in favor of this project," Mr. Smith questioned the emergency response figures of some residents and further commented that the bridge is "a waste of the taxpayers money."

Questioning why "do we have to take so much from this person's land," Middleburgh Supervisor Jim Buzon expressed additional concerns on the safety of motorists exiting Shady Tree Lane by way of the busy Roue 7 intersection.

Barnerville Road resident Kari McKelvy disagreed wholeheartedly with Mr. Smith's assessment, recounting an emergency situation where her mother needed an ambulance and "time is of the essence."

Matt Mann, a resident of Shady Tree Lane opposed to the project, commented that it is a "Bad place to replace that bridge," but that maybe it could be moved to another location, "where you don't have to take someone's land."

Divided on either side of the creek, residents of Barnerville Road are in favor of the project to reduce emergency response time, while landowners on Shady Tree Lane are opposed to the use of eminent domain on their properties to construct the structure.

"They [residents of Barnerville Road] had been promised this bridge," said Cobleskill Supervisor Leo McAllister. The supervisor would argue that it is time to put the structure in place because, "This is the only alternative."

Wrestling with a bridge of convenience versus emergency services, Conesville Supervisor Bill Federice questioned whether only a one-lane bridge for emergency response could be constructed to cut down on cost and land infringement.

The answer was no. Stressing that the structure has to meet current federal standards, Department of Public Works Commissioner Dan Crandall said the project would not be eligible to receive grant monies otherwise.

A point of contention in the community since the existing structure was shuttered seven years ago, the proposed bridge is funded as part of a capital improvement project. If the county does not vote to move forward, it will have to pay back $400,000 in grant monies.

Awaiting the final appraisals, supervisors kept the hearing open to the public through the next regularly scheduled county board meeting set for Friday, April 17th at 9:00 a.m. 

Two Seasonal Roads Remain Closed in Cobleskill

Written By Cicero on 4/2/15 | 4/2/15


Schoharie County Emergency Services has announced that two seasonal roads located in the Town of Cobleskill will remained closed for the time being. 

Set to re-open yesterday afternoon after the long winter, Tower Road from Greenbush Road to the Fulton Town line, and Settles Mountain Road from house #465 to #306, will remain closed until the snow and ice melts off.

WNYT forecasts that temperatures will peak at sixty degrees both today and tomorrow, which should help in the thawing of both seasonal roads. According to Albany meteorologists, this March was one of the coldest in decades. 

Residents Split on New Bridge in Cobleskill

Written By Cicero on 3/25/15 | 3/25/15


On Friday morning the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors considered the potential use of eminent domain to build a new bridge in the Town of Cobleskill, with both proponents and opponents of the measure addressing the county board. 

Slated to be built on Shady Tree Lane, which is located in the Cobleskill hamlet of Barnerville, the bridge is being proposed to replace an older structure that has been closed for seven years and has been a point of contention in the community. 

Explaining that any use of eminent domain must meet a two-fold requirement of being both in the public good and having no alternate location, County Attorney Michael West warned that because it is a capital improvement project, "If we do not move forward it will cost us $400,000."

Ironically enough, the Board of Supervisors had voted to oppose the use of eminent domain by natural gas companies against the will of county residents just four weeks before Friday's hearing.

At the crux of the dispute is the proposed bridge's path through two parcels of land, which affected property owners had decided against signing on to the project because it would cut into their front yards. One resident commented that he did not want to see "the bridge on my street."

Cobleskill resident Michelle Stacy stated her opposition by quipping that she was, "really against eminent domain in any way, shape, or form. Drawing a comparison to authoritarianism, Stacy would later comment, "We don't live in [the] Chinese mainland." 

Not everyone was opposed to the proposal, however. 

Arguing that "There is a public need for the replacement of this bridge," resident John Sagendorf hoped a compromise could be negotiated between the county and homeowners, but that if not, "eminent domain would have to be used," because of the project's critical nature. 

Neal Stanton, a lifelong resident of Barnerville, concurred with Sagendorf on the need for a bridge by pointing to several instances of emergency services taking upwards to twenty minutes to respond to calls because the old bridge is no longer is service. 

Awaiting the arrival of final assessments to come in, the county board kept the public hearing on the eminent domain proposal open through a special board meeting set for Tuesday, March 31st at 5:00 p.m. 

DOT Reduces Speed on Two Middleburgh Roads

Written By Cicero on 3/14/15 | 3/14/15


Drivers in the Town of Middleburgh will have to slow down on a pair of local roadways. 

Announcing that the New York State Department of Transportation has recently completed two speed reduction studies on the municipality's request, town officials informed residents of the speed changes at Thursday evening's monthly town board meeting. 

The new restrictions are limited to Frisbieville and Middlefort Roads and will soon be going to effect.

Slicing the maximum speed a motor vehicle can travel on either road down to thirty miles per hour, the Middleburgh Highway Department will be responsible for acquiring the necessary signage to properly post the new speed limit for motorists. 

Department of Transportation officials signaled a desire to reduce speed on the Town of Schoharie's share of Frisbieville Road as well, but it can only be done so if their municipal board requests a study be conducted on the merits of a possible reduction.


Warnerville Cutoff to Close October 13-17th for Repairs

Written By Editor on 10/3/14 | 10/3/14

Canadian Pacific will conduct a series of planned repairs at the Warnerville Cutoff, County Route 23A. The repairs will take place from October 13th to 17th. The entire road will be closed and drivers will be detoured on Routes 7 and 10. CP Rail will be replacing the RR Crossing on Warnerville Cutoff (CR-23A) from October 13th -17th. The work will require a full road closure, so traffic will be detoured using NYS Routes 10 & 7.

Road Crews Patch Up Clauverwie

Written By Editor on 7/9/14 | 7/9/14


Although it is only a temporary fix to a larger problem, county work crews began "skim coating" the worst parts of Middleburgh's porous Clauverwie Road on Tuesday morning. Residents have long complained about the road's poor condition. 

Photo by Sheila Donegan
Middleburgh Supervisor Jim Buzon told citizens at June's annual joint Town/Village board meeting that the proper repairs could not be made until after the stream bank project is concluded, which pushes possible construction to fall at the earliest time. 

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