Route 28 paving funding secured
By Jay Braman Jr.
Property owners along Route 28 were all smiles earlier this year when they heard that federal economic stimulus money was to be spent to repave the road from Route 375 in West Hurley to the Ulster/Delaware county line at Highmount.
The smiles quickly turned to frowns, though, when the lion’s share of the funding went to other projects in Ulster County. Only a short stretch of Route 28 — from Mount Tremper to Route 214 in Phoenicia — was repaved over the summer, and locals grimaced at the irony that that stretch had been in the best shape, while the rest of the road westward, according to those who complained publicly, was dangerous.
Shandaken Supervisor Peter DiSclafani launched a petition drive to demand Route 28 get the attention it deserved, and Ulster County Planner Dennis Doyle was summoned in September to town hall to explain why the project had been downsized. Doyle said at the time that the stimulus funds were reallocated to other projects because Route 28’s traffic flow west of Phoenicia was too small to justify the cost.
This month, however, Ulster County Executive Michael Hein announced he had secured an additional $8.26 million in stimulus money to repave Route 28 all the way to the Delaware County line.
In a prepared statement, Hein said he is “pleased to announce that, because Ulster County has been diligent in completing engineering and preliminary work needed to utilize over $27 million in other stimulus funding awarded to the county to date, and because of aggressive advocacy, millions of additional dollars are coming to Ulster County.”
Hein said Gov. David Paterson has approved and certified his request, made through the Ulster County Transportation Council, for the additional federal aid to repave Route 28.
“The new funding will be used to resurface over 23 miles of roadway and shoulders from Route 375 in West Hurley to Route 28A in Boiceville, and from Route 214 in Phoenicia to the Delaware County line,” Hein said. The work is expected to start in the spring.
The project originally was proposed as part of the Transportation Council’s request for infrastructure funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Hein said he recognizes the Route 28 corridor is a critical transportation link for the region and an economic lifeline for the tourism industry, and asked Paterson to place the project on a priority list should any additional funding become available. He also asked the New York State Department of Transportation to include the project in its list of ready-to-go infrastructure projects as deadlines approached.
Hein also recognized the town supervisors, county legislators and private-sector individuals who helped promote the project.
“Thanks to a common vision and purpose, we will have a safer, more accessible and more prosperous Route 28 corridor,” he said.