News Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.
After years of planning, safety and aesthetic improvements on Pleasantville’s Manville Road, including removal of the slip lane that funnels traffic from Memorial Plaza, is finally about to begin.
The village has obtained the required highway work permit from the state Department of Transportation (DOT) for the Manville Road Pedestrian Safety Project, indicating that shovels will soon be in the ground.
“Our contractor has been on site several times, marking the sidewalk to prepare for the work,” said Pleasantville Mayor Peter Scherer. “We expect the work to begin sometime in September.”
Among the scheduled tasks is improving the crosswalks at Manville Road and Tompkins Avenue.
Sidewalks will also be upgraded with ADA-compliant curb cut-outs, along with installing new gutters, drainage, paving, grading and landscaping. The project will require new catch basins at the curbs, which have to be designed and approved by the DOT.
“That’s the wild card in terms of time frame,” Village Administrator Eric Morrissey said of when work can commence.
While the traffic signal at Washington Avenue and Manville Road will remain, the light at the intersection of Manville and Wheeler Avenue will be removed, eliminating one of two signals that come in quick succession. The light at Wheeler and Manville has long been a safety concern, confusing some drivers that are unfamiliar with the area.
“The state has opined that the traffic light at Wheeler is not compliant with the codes,” Scherer said. “We have to remove it, and in order to do that, a bag is put over the light for a test period.”
That test period has yet to be scheduled.
The slip lane from Memorial Plaza leading to Manville Road will be removed, replaced by a right-turn lane on Memorial Plaza along with a new traffic light at Grant Street and Manville Road.
Elimination of the slip lane and creation of the turn lane will make for a new space at the end of Memorial Plaza. There have been public discussions about creating a civic space and pocket park at that location as a separate project.
“That location has been seen as a future civic space but depends on it being affordable,” Scherer said. “Costs have become much higher than we envisioned and cautious decisions will have to be made if a civic space is viable. But the board is still unanimously enthusiastic about doing it.”
The project was first proposed by the village in 2007 because of traffic safety concerns at the Memorial Plaza slip lane. But the project dragged on for years, in part because the DOT required revised budgets and new designs. As costs have risen, so has the estimated cost, now between $3 million and $4 million.
Of that sum, $1.6 million will be reimbursed to the village as a result of a federal grant issued through the DOT since Manville Road falls under the agency’s jurisdiction because it is a state road.
The village will be contributing an additional $750,000 toward the work. Last summer the Village Board authorized an additional $1.4 million, allowing them to finance the project for up to $4 million.
In April the board accepted the bid from Mount Vernon-based contractor PCI Industries, Corp.
The village hired Insite Engineering and HVEA Engineering for $260,000 for the required construction inspection services.
“The priority for us is that the contractor will not leave the corridor in a difficult spot in the winter,” Morrissey said. “We want to make sure they are committed to keeping access open to all the shops and retailers on those streets.”
It is expected that the project will be completed next year.
Abby is a local journalist who has reported on breaking news for more than 20 years. She currently covers community issues in The Examiner as a full-time reporter and has written for the paper since its inception in 2007. Read more from Abby’s editor-author bio here. Read Abbys’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/ab-lub2019/