Route 17 Exit 131 work to start following the awarding of $150 million construction contract
By Nancy Kriz
HARRIMAN — Gov. Andrew Cuomo paid a visit to IBEW Local 363 Training Center in Harriman on Wednesday to proclaim the state has awarded $150 million contract to reconfigure Route 17’s Exit 131 and preliminary project work would immediately begin.
Survey work on the project, announced earlier this year, is expected to begin as early as this week, with construction expected to be completed by November 2019 - five years ahead of schedule.
The construction, combined with the launch of new cashless tolling at the Harriman Toll Barrier in October 2018, is expected to decrease congestion, backups and accidents by 50 percent around the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, according to officials.
Cashless tolling will be for northbound traffic seeking to access Woodbury Common and Route 17, as well as traffic seeking to travel south on the Thruway. For southbound traffic from the Thruway's ticketed portion of the system, two toll lanes would remain in place for motorists with E-ZPass or cash.
"For too long, Hudson Valley residents have endured endless traffic headaches caused by the interchange at Woodbury Common, and now the state is taking action by developing a world-class transportation hub that will help alleviate congestion and improve traffic flow for residents and tourists alike," Cuomo said in a statement.
The design for the new “Road, Transit and Economic Development Hub” includes improved access to businesses, new park-and-ride services, and enhanced pedestrian and public transit facilities.
What's proposedSpecifically, construction includes:
• Constructing a Diverging Diamond Interchange;
• Replacement of the Route 32 bridge;
• Building a new underpass under Route 32;
• Creating a new lane going in each direction on Route 32;
• Building bicycle and pedestrian safety corridor;
• Constructing a new Woodbury Common Premium Outlets access point;
• Constructing a new Monroe-Woodbury School District roadway; and
• Constructing a new 200-space park and ride lot, featuring a solar-reliant bus shelter
A new Monroe-Woodbury High School Drive Extension will be constructed for local school bus traffic, connecting Monroe-Woodbury High School and Central Valley Elementary School, allowing school buses to more safely access many of their routes without accessing Nininger Road and Route 32, according to officials.
ReactionWoodbury Common Premium Outlet officials welcomed the project’s immediate commencement.
"We applaud Gov. Cuomo’s decision to fast track the long-awaited upgrade to Exit 131," said Woodbury Common Premium Outlets General Manager David Mistretta. "The corridor will benefit tremendously from the upgrade and would complement the improvements we have made at the outlets for improved traffic flow. We look forward to reviewing the new exit configuration announced by the governor and for this project to come to fruition."
Officials also said the project will also improve safety, mobility and traffic patterns at the interchange adjacent to the outlets area while providing the local community with better options for transportation.
“The Exit 131 project has lingered and been studied long enough,” said County Executive Steve Neuhaus in a statement emailed to The Photo News. “This construction will not only ease historic congestion issues, but will also allow us to continue to market this economically vital corridor for future planned growth and sustainable development.”
Also in a statement, State Sen. William Larkin said hub will create jobs and support economic growth.
Upcoming public meetingsThe first in a series of public meetings will be held in the coming weeks to provide further details on the anticipated construction schedule.
The contract has been awarded to a partnership between Yonkers Contracting Company and HNTB. Approximately 700 jobs are expected to be created during course of the project.