HUDSON — Farmers with produce stands on Route 9 are uncertain how the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Route 9G and Route 23 will affect business this fall.
The project should be completed in late October or early November.
The state Department of Transportation is realigning the complex intersection for about $4.5 million as part of its larger $14.6 million Rip Van Winkle Bridge Walkway trail project, which will use the bridge to connect the Olana State Historic Site in Greenport and the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill.
“The project is on budget and on schedule for an opening by late October or early November,” according to the state Department of Transportation. “We’ve already installed the roundabout shape and begun some layered paving in the area. “The work remaining includes sidewalk installation and the final layer of paving. The existing traffic patterns will largely remain in place until the roundabout opening. Traffic has not been reported as an issue since we began the current traffic formation.”
With the fall picking season kicking off, local farmstand owners were unhappy about the construction taking place up the road from their operations, but had differing views about how it affects their business.
“It doesn’t affect us and our business,” said Mary Eger, a member of the Eger family that owns Eger Farm Stand at the intersection of Route 9 and Route 23. “People stop as they shoot through from the Thruway to the Parkway. As long as traffic is flowing, it won’t affect us.”
Other factors have caused aches and pains for the business this season, including heavy rain, Eger said.
The same is true for Meisner’s Heritage Farms, said Melissa Meisner, who runs the farm stand on Route 9. It is the first year the farmstand is at its new location farther north up the road. The new stand opened May 11.
“This is our first season here, so I don’t have anything to compare this season to,” Meisner said. “Although I sold some things on the porch here and did really well.”
The season got off to a slow start at the new farmstand location, but business has picked up, Meisner said.
The state repaved Route 9 this summer from the end of Route 82 to the point where it turns to go through Hudson. The repaving posed a problem for the new farmstand, Meisner said.
“The paving on Route 9 affected our business a lot,” Meisner said. “They were flagging right in front of the store. I can imagine that the construction of the roundabout is affecting our business now.”
But ultimately the roundabout has the potential to help the Meisner stand, she said.
Construction of the roundabout started Aug. 15 as workers excavated the inner part of the triangular intersection, which used to have small intersecting ramps cutting across traffic on Route 23 coming from and going to the Rip Van Winkle Bridge.
The temporary road realignment forces motorists to drive around the intersection, and traffic coming off Route 9G north, or off the bridge, is required to make U-turns to continue through the intersection.
Rerouting traffic, both cars and trucks, through the intersection is going well, according to the state Department of Transportation.
The DOT originally planned to detour trucks nine miles through the city of Hudson, but after a meeting between the department, local officials and Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, D-106, the department changed its plans to force trucks looking to get on the bridge from Route 9G north to make a U-turn in the intersection.