DOT answers call for help
Motorists traveling State Route 302 may have been pleasantly surprised during their commute on Monday to find New York State DOT workers repairing the highway.
The road’s state of disrepair has come under fire from local officials since last summer and most recently after Crawford Town Councilman Rob Sassi received a car repair bill for more than $1,200, for damage apparently caused by the poor road conditions—namely the abundant patches along the edge of both sides of the road.
The highway was patched again back in April, due to pressure from local and state public officials, but a more permanent fix was put on the back burner waiting on funding.
“Infuriated” by the situation, Sassi decided a couple weeks ago to mount a lawn sign and call-in campaign, aimed at flooding the state with phone calls. By Monday however, state DOT crews were hard at work grinding the offending shoulders.
“I’m absolutely ecstatic,” said Sassi. “Sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”
According to DOT Supervisor Howard Gillis, the crews are expected to complete the planing (grinding) of the edges of the highway up to Route 17K around Wednesday. The remaining section of Route 302 between Route 17K and its terminus in the Town of Wallkill is expected to take another 2-3 days. After the old patches are removed, they will put down hot asphalt in the “wagon track area,” which is expected to take another week or two, depending on weather.
“We’re looking at probably two weeks worth of work out there roughly, maybe a little bit more,” said Gillis. “That’s all that we can do at this time. We’re hoping that somebody comes up with money for pavement. Then we can get the whole road paved, but for now, we’re going to put it down on the right [edge].”
Gillis said they are also planning to do repairs to the worst sections of Route 52, coming into the town from the Village of Walden. They will mill out the bad spots and put new patches down.
“We appreciate the state DOT realizing the importance of not only State Route 302 but Route 52, which are the main thoroughfares into not only the Town of Crawford, but the hamlet of Pine Bush,” said Crawford Town Supervisor Charles Carnes. “This route is truly an important route as it services one of the largest school districts in the area, as well as senior citizens and residents.”
“It will make the road safer, that’s for sure, and make it smoother,” Gillis said of the work on Route 302, adding that it will also make the highway easier to plow in the winter. “So it’s a plus until we can get the road paved.”
“I’m very, very pleased,” said Sassi. “I hope it gets done, done right, and we can move forward.”
By RACHEL COLEMAN