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Alternative routes the focus as Arterial Project demolition begins

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Demolition has begun as part of Utica's North-South Arterial project. The former gas station on Oriskany Boulevard was the first site to be demolished making way for an alternative route for travelers connecting Oriskany Boulevard to Champlin Avenue.

Champlin Avenue will now be extended a short distance north across the gas station property to intersect directly with Route 5A. It will provide what the New York State Department of Transportation sees as a critical alternative route for cars and emergency vehicles the Arterial Project moves along.

"They'll be able to get off on Oriskany Blvd come here on 5A up Champlin Ave and access the areas hospitals," said Jim Piccola of the DOT. "Right now there's a gap in the state (highway) system here and by doing this site here we'll bring together the two state routes."

The former gas station is the first of 57 structures to be demolished for the project. It will turn into a signalized intersection connecting the two highways and allowing drivers to take a left onto Champlin Ave.

"Once we start the main project out on the Arterial, you're going to expect delays," said Piccola. "Traffic will be much slower so this will be an opportunity for those that need to get to the hospitals possibly quicker to have an alternative."

After the demolition is complete, the DOT will enter into a mitigation phase looking at traffic patterns and where they can divert traffic to make travel quicker once the project gets underway. The major Arterial construction where traffic delays are expected won't begin until Spring of 2014.

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