Route 17's Exit 131 reconfiguration will include an extension for school buses

| 28 Dec 2017 | 05:59

— As part of the $150 million project to reconfigure Route 17’s Exit 131, a new Monroe-Woodbury High School Drive Extension will be constructed expressly for school bus traffic.
The extension will connect the high school with the elementary school. An internal roadway will be created, while reconfigured parking areas will allow buses to access many of their routes without ever having to access Nininger Road and Route 32.
State transportation officials said this is expected to increase safety and decrease trip times.
The addition of this connector road will also minimize the need for the traffic signal along Route 32 at the southern entrance to the elementary school, the officials added.
The impact on the school districtPatrick Cahill, the Monroe-Woodbury School District’s assistant superintendent for business and management services, offered the following assessment:
"The District has worked closely and collaboratively with NYS DOT to devise ways to mitigate the impact of the exit 131 reconstruction project on Central Valley Elementary School and the District at large.
"DOT has been open and responsive to nearly all of our requests, including construction of an access road linking the High School to Route 32 and the addition of a new athletic field parking lot to replace the existing lot that will be lost due to the reconfiguration of Ninninger Road.
"Furthermore, DOT has agreed to reconstruct the front parking areas of Central Valley Elementary School to provide better separation of bus and car traffic.
"We are hopeful that the loss of district land associated with this project through an eminent domain proceeding, including the loss of a soccer field in the front of Central Valley Elementary School, will be offset by just compensation from New York State.
"This compensatory funding from New York State could be used for future improvements to our athletic fields including turf fields and track improvements."
What else is 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
Completion expected by late 2019Survey work on the project, announced earlier this year, began last month. Construction is 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.