CANAAN — Residents along a stretch of state Route 22 in the towns of Canaan and New Lebanon are pushing for the state to repair road they say has not been paved in 24 years.
Residents are calling on the state to repair a 5- to 6-mile stretch of Route 22 — between Interstate 90 and the intersection of Route 22 and Route 20 in New Lebanon — complaining that the road is in deplorable condition.
Canaan Town Councilman Brenda Adams has lived on Route 22 since 1979 and has taken the lead in reaching out to the state to repair the road.
“The stretch of road is in very poor repair,” Adams said. “The last time it was repaired was in 1994 and it has long outlived those repairs. It has deteriorated and has caused a lot of flat tires, bent rims and other car problems.”
Adams and other residents along the route have lined the stretch of road with more than 35 signs that warn drivers to be careful and provides a number to call at the state Department of Transportation — the DOT Region 8 headquarters in Poughkeepsie 845-431-5150.
“Just drive that stretch of road and you would be appalled,” said Canaan Town Supervisor Richard Keaveney. “There are so many potholes it is ridiculous.”
Keaveney and Adams agreed the condition of the road is a safety hazard for drivers.
“When someone loses their life on that road it will become a political priority for the state,” Keaveney said. “We do not want to wait until that happens, though.”
Keaveney and New Lebanon Town Supervisor Colleen Teal sent letters to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on April 12 asking for more funding to the local Department of Transportation branch so the road can be repaired. Columbia County is within the DOT Region 8, which covers a large area from the southern border of Albany County south to Westchester County.
“I reached out to a contact I have in the governor’s office to follow up because I have not received a response to my letter,” Teal said. “I wouldn’t drive that stretch of road. It is a safety hazard I can choose to avoid. But my highway crew and local residents do not have a choice.”
The local officials agreed the road needs a full milling and has to be redone, but over time the state has patched the road.
“The DOT patches the road every few years, but those patches do not last long,” Adams said.
Local officials have received several different estimates from the Department of Transportation for the cost of the work that has to be done on the stretch of road from $4.5 million to $7 million.
Officials agreed that not only is the condition of the road a safety hazard but it also affects the economy of the area and upstate New York.
“That is a major state road,” Keaveney said. “That road runs from Interstate 684 to Lake George. This is an economic development issue and this is a tourist road. We are trying to get people up here from elsewhere in the state as well as out of state. The local economy suffers from this.”
The average daily traffic on that section of road is 2,916 vehicles, according to state Department of Transportation data.
That stretch of road has been a top priority for the DOT in Columbia County for five years, but funding is not provided to the local office for repairs, Adams said.
“New York State Department of Transportation is aware of the community’s concern about the condition of the road and our maintenance crews are out there on a daily basis patching the road,” DOT Region 8 Public Information Officer Gina M. DiSarro said. “While we do not currently have a project for this location on our program, Route 22 remains a candidate for the next five-year capital plan which will be deliberated in the next year.”