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North-South Arterial in 'Fast-Lane' of D.O.T. projects

By GARY LIBERATORE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - New York State Department of Transportation officials now say that the $62.5 million North-South Arterial project in the City of Utica will be completed about two years earlier than planned.

D.O.T. Regional Spokesperson Anthony Ilacqua says that after much speculation about the project regarding its scope and cost, the project is now fully funded, and the process of acquiring properties necessary to make the improvements is underway.

Ilacqua says the improvements in and around the arterial are needed for safety reasons, and since this is such a big project, the state wants to minimize the effects of construction on residents to a minimum. So, the timeline has been moved up.

The acquisition and demolition of 77 properties is excepted to be complete later this year, with actual road construction work to begin next spring.

There is now an estimated completion date of late 2016, about two years earlier than previously planned.

Ilacqua says the speeding up of the project had nothing to do with some very vocal critics of the proposed project who spoke out late last year before the funding was to be finalized.

Those critics were interested in having more of a boulevard-type roadway, rather than the more high speed highway type roadway that it currently is, and will remain when the D.O.T.'s project is completed.

Ilacqua says the concerns were discussed over and over, but the state decided to go with the plan it proposed.

"We had discussions with members of the council, members of the community, people who were on the task force, county legislators that have been involved, a lot of discussions, but we firmly have a great deal of support from the CIty Council, the County Legislature, the County Executive, the Mayor, our senator, our assemblyman, The Chamber of Commerce," Ilacqua said. "I think at all levels of Government and certainly with the Governor's great level of support to move the project ahead, we know we're doing the right thing for Utica."

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