By Jeanne Sager
HANKINS November 27, 2001 The trip from Hankins to Long Eddy is once again smooth sailing.
After more than a year of work on the huge rock slope that runs along Route 97 in the Town of Fremont, the NYS Department of Transportation (DOT) is moving out and reopening a long-closed lane of the major highway.
According to NYS DOT Project Engineer Frank Sander, contractor A. Servidone of Albany officially finished its work last week.
The signal which has kept traffic running smoothly along the one open lane on Route 97 was taken down Friday, and all that remains at the site is a small lot full of equipment and a project trailer.
The completion of the reconstruction and rock slope stabilization project has been a year in the making for NYS DOT.
A. Servidone was contracted last year to scale back the rock cut on the east side of the road.
We were afraid that the rocks were going to come loose and come sliding down onto passing cars, Sander explained.
A retaining wall also had to be constructed on the west side of the road where the road had begun slipping toward the railroad tracks.
Construction began in July 2000 with an expected completion date of November 2000.
The workers ran into trouble with the numerous utility lines which run along the road, Sander said.
It took us an extra year, he explained. The business on the rock side got a lot more complicated. We took down much more rock than expected.
The new traffic pattern, which allowed motorists to use only one lane of the two-lane highway, added more hangups during construction.
To keep it open one lane really slows things down, Sander explained. But theres no real way to shut down 97.
We realize we slowed people down, but we tried to talk to them and explain what we were doing.
The only work to be completed this week will be the removal of some equipment left in Hankins, Sander said.
The project cost NYS DOT $4 million to complete.