HUDSON — Finding an alternate route, the state Department of Transportation has dropped its plan to detour truck traffic on its way to the Rip Van Winkle Bridge through city streets.
Instead, the loop at the intersection of Route 9G and Route 23 will be widened so trucks will be able to make the turnaround more easily, bypass heavily traveled existing truck routes and eliminate a convoluted 9-mile detour.
Hudson Mayor Rick Rector and Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, D-106, announced late Thursday that the DOT agreed to change its detour plans. The announcement came after a meeting Tuesday between DOT officials and the mayor, Barrett and Hudson Department of Public Works Superintendent Rob Perry, at which the DOT agreed to consider new possible solutions to truck traffic.
“The state Department of Transportation has agreed to end their plans for a truck detour through Hudson during the construction of the roundabout at the Rip Van Winkle Bridge,” according to a joint statement from Rector and Barrett. “The plan is to enlarge the proposed turnaround to negate the need for any diversion of truck traffic and any detour plans.”
The DOT erected detour signs Monday for traffic entering the intersection of Route 23 and Route 9 with Route 9G, on the Columbia County side of the bridge, where the department plans to build a roundabout as part of the state’s $14.6 million Skywalk trail project linking the Olana and Thomas Cole historic sites.
The signs have remained covered in plastic and trucks have not been detoured through the city.
The department planned to allow passenger vehicles entering the intersection from Route 9G north to make a U-turn at the intersection, but there was not enough space for trucks to turn.
The DOT then planned to redirect the trucks across the intersection and into the city where they would follow one of the existing state truck routes and then back out to a northern section of Route 23. The planned detour was about 9 miles.
The DOT did not tell city or state officials about its original detour plans, sparking a backlash from several Hudson departments.
The DOT plans to begin construction on the intersection this month, which consists of creating a 25-space parking area at the east side of the roundabout, according to the DOT, and sidewalks from the parking lot leading visitors to the northern entrance to Olana and the Skywalk.
The roundabout and parking area are expected to be open by the fall, with the total project completed by the end of the year, according to the DOT.