The safety steps for the Route 9G corridor in Red Hook are moving closer to reality: the road paving project has been awarded to a contractor, the flashing light at the Tivoli intersection should be in before summer, and the Bard shuttle bus no longer stops on the highway near Tivoli.
The state Department of Transportation had announced in February that it was planning to repave Route 9G from Route 199 to the Columbia County line and add 3-foot shoulders.
According to the DOT schedule, the contract for the $1.6 million project was awarded March 3 to a Schenectady company. The schedule calls for the project to be completed by Oct. 31.
Despite some initial local confusion over the road width of the project, DOT Public Affairs Officer Beau Duffy told the Observer, “The facts are: 11-foot lanes, 3-foot shoulders.”
He later added, “The predominant lane width is 11 feet. There are spots where the lanes are wider than 11 feet. Over the years, there has been paving and restriping and the lanes have grown a bit. … That will not have an effect on the project; it will be constructed for 11-foot lanes and 3-foot shoulders.”
Meanwhile, Duffy also confirmed for the Observer that the upcoming installation of the 4-way flashing beacon at the Tivoli intersection was a direct response to local outcry.
“In response to community concerns, we did a review of the intersection and decided that the flashing beacon would help supplement the improved signage that was installed in 2009,” he said.
In a surprisingly quick decision by DOT, Commissioner Joan McDonald released a statement March 21 that the state will install the intersection light by Memorial Day.
The announcement of the paving project, along with the new light, followed the hit-and-run deaths of two Bard College students on Jan. 31 and the death of a local man on March 3 at the intersection.
At the same time, Bard College announced plans to discontinue campus shuttle drop-offs and pickups at the Tivoli intersection at the end of March.
However, Bard communications director Mark Primoff told the Observer, “The idea that there has ever been a shuttle stop on 9G is something of a misnomer.
He said the official village shuttle bus stop has always been at Pine Street and Tivoli Park.
He also contradicted the reports at the time of the 2 students’ deaths in January that they were heading to catch the campus shuttle on Route 9G.
“They were on their way into Tivoli to catch the bus,” he said. “They weren’t waiting for the bus.”
“What has happened in the past, on rare occasions, is that if students were late for the bus, the driver would sometimes stop to pick them up,” Primoff added. “But there is no such stop on 9G.”
Primoff also said the campus shuttle bus has changed its route out of Tivoli, and will now avoid the main Route 9G intersection. Instead, the bus now stops on Pine Street, turns right on Montgomery and heads out to Route 9G via Kidd Lane.