Thursday, September 20, 2001

Parkway crossing stays open

DOT busy with NYC recovery

By Michael Valkys
Poughkeepsie Journal

Closing the Hosner Mountain Road median crossing at the Taconic State Parkway has been delayed again, this time by last week's terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Colleen McKenna said officials have been busy performing work related to the attack and have not had time to concentrate on the Hosner closure. The DOT had offices in the World Trade Center and three of its employees are missing, McKenna said.

Thousands are feared dead in the Sept. 11 attacks.

''In light of recent events in New York and throughout the country, we've been focusing our energies on sending people to the city and bringing needed equipment to the city,'' McKenna said.

Decision in 'near future'

She said a decision on Hosner would be made in the ''near future,'' but could not pinpoint a specific date.

Hosner is the last of six median crossings on the highway slated for temporary closure in the wake of safety concerns. Five others in Dutchess County are already closed as the DOT works on a long-term plan to improve safety on the parkway. That plan is expected to be released later this year.

Town of East Fishkill Supervisor Peter Idema wants Hosner and some other crossings to remain open, citing inconvenience and safety concerns for residents. He said the town is glad Hosner remains open, but will not push state officials at this time to reopen others.

''There are more important things to be done,'' Idema said.

It is the second delay in closing the Hosner median. It was to have been closed before Sept. 1, but was delayed as officials tried to develop a plan that would not cut off residents on the eastern side of Hosner Mountain from local stores and services.

The temporary median closures prevent drivers from crossing the parkway and from making left turns onto or from the Taconic.

Already closed are crossings from Bogardus Lane and Carpenter, Stormville, Todd Hill and Arthursburg roads.

The 104-mile Taconic runs from Westchester County to the Berkshire Spur of the Thruway southeast of Albany. Ten people have died since 1994 at ''at-grade'' crossings along the Dutchess County stretch of the parkway.