Kicking off pavement rehabilitation project, DOT warns motorists to be careful in work zones

By WKTV News

ONEIDA, N.Y. - New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Regional Director Michael A. Shamma, P.E. announced Thursday that construction is underway on a $1.9 million project to rehabilitate pavement along a portion of Route 5 between Seneca Street and the Oneida County line, in the city of Oneida, located in Madison County.

Regional Director Shamma also kicked off the start of the highway and bridge construction season by reminding motorists to drive slowly and with caution through construction and maintenance work zones, and to slow down and change lanes when approaching construction vehicles with flashing amber lights.

"Now that spring is here, men and women will be working on highway and bridge maintenance and construction projects like this one, all across New York State. It is important that motorists drive cautiously and stay alert so that our roads stay safe for both travelers and workers this construction season," Regional Director Shamma said. "This is an important pavement improvement project on Route 5 here in Oneida, and we ask the traveling public to allow for extra travel time and stay patient during the traffic delays that may occur as part of this important project."

"This project is a much needed update to our infrastructure, and will provide a safe pedestrian route along with creating jobs," Senator David J. Valesky said. "During construction season, we all need to be alert and focused on safety in these zones."

Assemblyman Bill Magee said, "Taking care to promote safe movement through and around work zones is a driver's obligation and responsibility. The "Ambrose-Searles Move Over Act" is for the protection of not only the workers, but also motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians."

The Route 5 project will resurface the roadway along State Route 5, from just west of Seneca St. to the Oneida County line, in the city of Oneida, along with drainage improvements, new sidewalks and signal improvements.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently expanded New York State's "Ambrose-Searles Move Over Act" to include all hazard vehicles with amber lights, such as tow trucks, highway maintenance and construction vehicles. The law requires motorists to change lanes, when possible, or slow down when they approach vehicles that are parked, stopped or standing on a road with flashing amber or red lights. This law applies to NYSDOT and contractor construction vehicles and equipment. Compliance with the law will help keep highway workers safe.

The project kicks off during National Work Zone Awareness Week, which runs from April 23 to April 27. The theme of this year's campaign is "Don't Barrel Through Work Zones! Drive Smart to Arrive Alive."

Last year in New York State there were a total of 347 traffic accidents in construction work zones on the state's roads and bridges, and 45 traffic accidents in maintenance work zones along New York highways. Those accidents resulted in five fatalities - including four motorists - and 110 injuries of motorists, contractor employees and NYSDOT staff.

In the Mohawk Valley region last year, there were 19 traffic accidents in construction and maintenance work zones.

New York State Police Troop D Commander Major Rodney W. Campbell said, "The New York State Police is committed to improving highway safety through a highly visible presence and enforcement. As the summer construction season begins, we remind motorists to obey traffic control devices, posted speed limits, stay in designated lanes, and be attentive of workers and equipment in all highway work zones. "

Madison County Sheriff Allen Riley said, "With the summer season approaching, road construction season is upon us. It's likely that we may all encounter road work activity as we travel, so motorists need to be alert, slow down, pay attention to reduced speed limit and other warning signs to help keep both travelers and highway construction workers safe."

Mike Elmendorf, President and CEO of the Associated General Contractors of New York State (AGC NYS), said, "Maintenance and upgrades to our roads and bridges are not only essential to getting us all from point A to point B and supporting our economy and communities, but are critical to our safety. It is equally critical that the men and women who are out rebuilding New York be safe as well. That's why, as the construction season begins again, we must all focus on making work zones safer for both workers and the traveling public, especially with all the distractions we see on the road today. So, please be aware of what's going on around you on the road, watch for signs, slow down and obey work zone speed limits. We rely on road crews for our safety as we travel--and they're counting on us for their safety as well."

In addition to rehabilitating and resurfacing the pavement, the project will include minor drainage improvements, improvements to a large culvert at Higinbotham Creek, and a smaller culvert near the McDonald's restaurant. Traffic signal systems will be upgraded with new or updated traffic signal hardware and pedestrian crossing signals. New sidewalks will be constructed along the south side of Route 5 from Seneca Street to the bridge over Oneida Creek. Sidewalk will also be constructed along the north side of Route 5 creating continuity with existing segments of sidewalk. At the intersection of Routes 5 and 46 right turn lanes will be built on Rte. 5 eastbound and Rte. 46 southbound.

Construction contractor for the project is Barrett Paving Materials, Inc. of Clayville, in Oneida County. The project will continue through the summer and is expected to be completed by November 2012.

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