CBS6 Investigates: Cohoes construction project moving slowly
COHOES, N.Y. (WRGB) - A stretch of road some residents are calling a speed trap along the end of I-787 that turns into Cohoes Blvd. is raising concerns. Work zone speed limit signs are up, but drivers say they're not seeing any work.
"They could have been working on it..."
It's a sentiment shared among many residents in and around Cohoes about the redevelopment project on 787, which was set to begin in August.
"I haven't seen anything done at all on that road, except for them lowering the speed limit which right now that's a pain for a lot of people," driver Jim McGuirk said.
It has many people wondering: what else has been done in the past four months?
"It's been a lot of work but it's been small little projects that most people don't see," said Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse.
Morse says the $10.7 million project, funded by the state, is underway; with trees already taken down, soil samples taken, and electrical work being done. He says he's gotten about a dozen calls complaining about these speed limit signs - quickly jumping from 55 to 35, and 30 - but he says he's gotten more than 100 calls about speeders, which is why the signs are up so early.
"They're trying to condition people to recognize that these are going to be the speed limits," Morse said. "And it makes sense to put it up in advance, not the day that everybody is working and people are still flying down the highway."
These will be be speed limits during the year of construction, but likely after as well.
The state DOT says the reduction in speed is a permanent feature of the project. Spokesman Bryan Viggiani told us, "The project, which is underway and scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019, is intended to enhance safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists along this travel corridor."
"After the project's done, the lanes [will be] narrowed," said Assem. John McDonald.
McDonald is a large proponent for the project and wants everyone to remember why it was initially brought up.
"We've had too many fatalities in that area over the past 20-30 years and it's an opportunity to correct those issues and also pave the way for a brighter future for the city," McDonald said.
Mayor Morse says the police regularly patrolling the stretch have given out more warnings than actual tickets, and it's certainly not a tactic for the city.
"We are not here to make money," the mayor said. "We're here to make sure it's safe."
And he asks everyone to have patience.
We also had some residents ask us why no work was begun since the area has barely seen any snow so far. The DOT says the project is simply not planned out that way and can't be started in the winter season, as its not a quick fix, like a pothole or road patching.