News Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.
Motorists and residents who use a portion of Route 120 not far from downtown Chappaqua are likely to find it more difficult to navigate around town for a portion of the summer.
The state Department of Transportation (DOT) has scheduled an estimated six-week project to replace the Route 120 culvert near Kipp Street, which will completely shut down the road from early July to mid-August. The work will force a truck detour and require an alternate route for local residents.
“As noted, it’s in very bad shape. It predates World War II,” Richard Frusciante, an engineer for the DOT, said of the culvert. “There’s a big sinkhole in the road and it’s also undermining the culvert.”
Initially, DOT had planned to keep one lane open, but the start date was pushed back because of a delay in moving the nearby utility wires. Town officials were concerned that keeping only one lane open would have caused long backups, especially during peak hours, and present a major hurdle in getting school buses to pick up and drop off students attending the Chappaqua School District.
When the work was moved to the summer, the town asked the DOT to completely close the road to get the job completed sooner. Work will begin on July 5 with a scheduled completion date of Aug. 18.
Keeping one lane open would have prolonged the project to roughly four months.
“We’ve had many meetings (with DOT) and I know nobody likes construction and certainly no one likes a road closure, but given the amount of time this was going to take if we kept one lane open versus closing it, and being able to do this in a very expedited timeframe…when school is out and people are potentially going away and maybe not commuting as much over the summer, I think this is a much better option,” said Supervisor Lisa Katz.
Town Administrator Jill Shapiro said the town has been working with the police and fire departments and the Chappaqua Volunteer Ambulance Corps to work on alternate routes for the first responders. There has also been communication with Chappaqua Transportation since they transport children for summer camp, although the volume of buses is greatly diminished compared to the school year, she said.
Shapiro noted that the local detour will be for motorists to take Kipp Street to Douglas Road to Hardscrabble Road.
The eventual posted detour for trucks will use only state roads, including routes 117 and 133, Frusciante said. As of last week, he said the final truck detour is still being coordinated with Town Engineer Robert Cioli and DPW Commissioner Bart Carey.
A key concern for the town is not overwhelming Roaring Brook Road with traffic. Roaring Brook provides access to the Saw Mill Parkway and is also the location of Horace Greeley High School and Chappaqua Crossing.
“We are not directing traffic to Roaring Brook Road but we are also not prohibiting them from Roaring Brook Road,” Frusciante said.
During the culvert replacement, the DOT also plans to keep the sidewalk open during the first stage of the project, he said.
Councilwoman Victoria Tipp said given the options, a six-week road closure in the summer is preferable.
“I think that this is the far better option to have it done quickly over the summer, relatively quickly, rather than when school is on, even though you’ll have the camp buses,” Tipp said. “If you have the school buses engaged in this kind of detour, it would be a nightmare.”
Frusciante said there is confidence on the DOT’s part that the culvert work will be completed within the projected schedule.
“I have full confidence in the office and the department has full confidence that the stated closure window will be more than enough time to get this work done and hopefully minimize the impact in town,” he said.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/