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Brian Luke Community Blogger, WGRZ-TV

Thursday, October 20, 2011


New Construction Provides Safe Access for Students, Pedestrians Under Busy Route 9
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald joined Marist College President Dennis Murray in Poughkeepsie today to dedicate a new pedestrian underpass at Route 9 that has improved safety for those walking to and from the campus.
NYSDOT constructed the underpass in 11 days, completing it on July 14, four days ahead of schedule. Working cooperatively with NYSDOT, Marist College installed lighting and provided landscape improvements to the underpass and its entrances. The underpass, which provides a safe and direct link for students wishing to cross Route 9, has also reduced traffic delays by minimizing vehicle stops for pedestrians. It was opened August 25.
"We are very pleased to join with our partners at Marist College to improve safety for the thousands of pedestrians who cross this busy road every academic year," Commissioner McDonald said. "This project is particularly exciting because it promotes pedestrian safety as well as a smoother, more efficient flow of Route 9 traffic."
Marist College President Dennis Murray said: "This project is a prime example of a private-public partnership that created jobs and a good outcome for our community. Pedestrians will be safer, traffic will flow more smoothly, and the area’s aesthetics have been enhanced. The Marist College community salutes the DOT and the contractors for a superb job. We also appreciate the understanding of those who use Route 9. Short-term disruptions have yielded a long-term benefit for our community."
In addition to the construction of the underpass, NYSDOT changed the traffic configuration at the intersection of Route 9, Fulton Avenue and Marist Main Gate to improve safety. NYSDOT eliminated an all-red traffic signal and adjusted travel lanes on Route 9 to limit access at the main gate of the college to service, delivery and emergency vehicles. Meanwhile, with the underpass now available to walkers, mid-block crosswalks have been removed and the Marist South Gate has been widened and enhanced to encourage its use by all vehicles, rather than using the main gate.
The project cost approximately $4.6 million. Schultz Construction of Ballston Spa was the contractor.
State Senator Steve Saland said: "This new underpass is a win-win, not only for vehicular traffic, but for pedestrian traffic as well. Not only will it result in fewer traffic delays, but it will also dramatically reduce the danger to pedestrians, particularly Marist students who must cross Route 9 regularly."
Assemblyman Joel Miller said: "This beautifully designed pedestrian tunnel provides a far safer and expeditious way for the Marist students to get from one side of Route 9 to the other. It also helps by improving the flow of traffic. This much needed pedestrian pathway is a win-win for everybody."
Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus said: "Dutchess County’s quality of life is better and our economic engine stronger because Dutchess is the host community to Marist College, which has earned a premier national reputation for excellence. Thanks to our Dutchess County Transportation Council, the New York State Department of Transportation and Marist College, the Route 9 crossing will offer pedestrians and motorists a new, improved, safer and more efficient walkway corridor."
Ross J. Pepe, President of Construction Industry Council of Westchester and Hudson Valley, Inc., said: "Congratulations to the Department of Transportation and Marist College for their excellent design and plan to build this important safety enhancement for students and others crossing Route 9. Finishing this project with minimal community and traffic disruption by contractor Shultz Construction Co. is testimony to project sponsors’ quality planning."

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