By Jeanne Sager
FOSTERDALE September 2, 2003 The traffic signal set to be turned on in Fosterdale before school opens wont be ready in time.
According to Eric Harding, the engineer in charge for the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), the four-way intersection in Fosterdale was supposed to be regulated by a full traffic light by Sept. 1.
That would have been just in time for school to open Sept. 3 at the new Lake Huntington campus of the Sullivan West Central School District.
The light has long been a bone of contention for residents of the Town of Cochecton, who have complained that the blinking red and yellow lights in the 40 mph district were insufficient for regulating the heavy traffic the intersection is subject to, especially in the summer months.
The concerns multiplied when the Sullivan West school announced they would be opening a high school in Lake Huntington, sending several buses through the area at least twice a day five times a week.
According to Harding, utility companies have held up the entire process. NYSEG has yet to put up new poles at the site. That has further delayed Verizon from stringing their lines at the intersection.
Weve been waiting for two weeks now, Harding said. Theyre kind of hanging us up here.
According to Paul Lounsbury of NYSEGs Liberty office, the company has been held up by a number of procedures.
Theres a three-day waiting period before any pole can be put up to check and make sure they will not disturb any other utilities during digging.
They were also waiting for an easement from a customer, Lounsbury said, which further delayed the process.
The pole is scheduled to be installed next week, he noted.
Once the utility companies complete their work, there should only be two work days for NYSDOT to complete the traffic light, and the effect on motorists should be minimal, said Harding.
NYSDOT is now shooting for the week of Sept. 8-12 to complete the job.
Sullivan West Superintendent Michael Johndrow said its a disappointment, but hes glad to see the traffic light will be coming shortly.
We kept hoping it would get in, but the DOT has schedules too, he said. Sure, were disappointed, but if the DOT didnt think it was a safe area, Im sure something would be done about it.
Weve got 14 buses roughly going to the high school, and staff, but not all 14 will go through that intersection, he continued.
The concern has been that accidents have happened at the intersection in the past, and the district will be increasing regular traffic through the area, he said.
With a traffic light, it would just be a safer situation for everyone, Johndrow said.
When he found out the project should be completed in early September, he said, Thats not so bad, thats only three or four days of school.