WILLSBORO - It's time for action.
Willsboro Supervisor Edward Hatch said officials of the state Department of Transportation have dropped the ball in saying they will not be doing any more roadwork on the eight-mile stretch of New York State Route 22 between the hamlet and Interstate 87.
"In a recent letter from NYSDOT Region One, the town was informed that, 'Unfortunately, the 5-mile section of Route 22, extending from the current project to I-87 is not within the foreseeable capital program,'" Hatch said. "The completion of the two-mile section, currently under construction from the railroad overpass to the intersection of the Reber Road, will be completed in June."
Hatch said this response from the state is not new.
"For many years, Route 22 has been slated to be part of the NYS Capital Road Improvement Program," Hatch said. "Each year, the section from Willsboro to I-87 has been eliminated from the Improvement Program resulting in only minor repairs to the road surface."
Hatch said the time for putting off the repairs are over, and that the situation has become a matter of safety.
"The Willsboro-Essex Rescue squads use it to transport patients to the hospital," Hatch said. "The rescue squad drivers will tell you how difficult it is to drive the ambulance in a way that provides comfort and safety to the patient."
"School buses travel the road with school children," Hatch continued. "Our children's safety is paramount! The Fire Department uses it not only for the protection of our residents but in support of our neighboring communities."
Hatch also said the road is a major artery for the local economy.
"Tourists, vital to our economy, travel this road," Hatch said. "We, who live here, realize how important the road is to our community. Many of us use it every day to travel to work."
To counter, Hatch has asked that members of the community write to their state legislators, DOT officials and even Governor Cuomo's office to seek the re-establishment of funds to finish the road.
"We are all aware of the financial problems of New York State, and we realize that a budget must have priorities," he said. "This road should be one of them! We must make them aware that the road is beyond the patching stage. This road must be reconstructed to provide safe passage for all travelers."
Hatch urged residents in a recent letter to let their representatives know how important the pass is to the region.
"Please contact them concerning the road's poor condition and request their support in fixing it," Hatch said. "If you have had a bad or dangerous incident on this road, please tell about them about it.
"If we all work together, we may change their minds."