State and local officials held a groundbreaking ceremony in Putnam Valley on Wednesday to begin a $28.9 million project for a new bridge over the Taconic State Parkway at the Pudding Street intersection, along with new ramps that will make it easier for motorists to get on and off the Parkway.
Residents have been urging the state to change the dangerous intersection for many years.
“Today we deliver on a long-awaited promise,” said Marie Therese Dominguez, commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation. “Construction is starting immediately.”
The project will eliminate the current at-grade crossing and realign the Parkway to accommodate the new bridge. It will increase sight distance and make the crossing easier to navigate for commuters, school buses and emergency service providers, Dominguez said.
“The Pudding Street intersection is one of the most dangerous intersections on the Taconic,” State Assemblyman Kevin Byrne said, “and to see this hazardous location finally get the care that it needs will make our community safer for our both our residents and our school district.”
The construction will be done in stages and two lanes of traffic will be maintained throughout the work. The Pudding Street crossing will be closed to traffic for about five months with a detour in place beginning next summer. Emergency responders will have access to the Roaring Brook community via limited-access roads during the closure. All work is expected to be finished by the summer of 2021.
The project also calls for a new, improved drainage system for the interchange. To accommodate the new bridge and ramps, wetlands will be relocated within the project area.
“This groundbreaking has been over two decades in the making,” State Sen. Sue Serino said, “and I am incredibly proud to have played a role in making this long-held dream of our local community a reality. I thank the countless community advocates who have never given up the fight, NYSDOT for working so diligently alongside my office in getting this project off the ground, and the governor for hearing us and making this project a priority.”
Putnam Valley Town Supervisor Sam Oliverio said, “This overpass bridge is a major health and safety issue and will provide our residents – and especially our school buses – a clear and unobstructed passage across the four lanes of the Taconic Highway.”
Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell said, “This project is a win for residents of Putnam County who have fought for many years for a safer intersection at Pudding Street.”
One of those residents is Tara Eng. Her teenage daughter made a video in 2016 showing southbound traffic rushing down the Parkway as her school bus waited. The video was used in the residents’ campaign to bring attention to the dangerous intersection.
“It’s gratifying to see that the voices in our community have been heard,” Eng said at the groundbreaking. “Standing here today I can see that every little voice matters.”
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