BY MICHAEL RICONDA
NEW CITY – Though some updates will likely be pursued, major changes to Thiells-Mount Ivy Road might not be necessary, according to a representative from the County’s Highway Department.
An update presented by Deputy Superintendent of Highways and Construction Manager Andrew Connors to the County Legislature painted a picture of a road which, in spite of some minor safety issues, presented no evidence of serious design flaws which led to an uptick in accidents.
According to Connors, the Highway Department surveyed the road and found that there was no single area where accidents seemed to be particularly prevalent. Hence, major updates like road widening or the addition of new shoulders might not be necessary.
“My professional opinion is that the road is what you would consider safe,” Connors said.
While major changes might not be necessary, minor changes such as the re-grading of existing shoulders and clearing brush to improve lines of sight were pursued over the course of the survey. Long-term changes, according to Connors, would likely focus on sign placement, line and pavement striking for visibility, road condition checks, resurfacing and other routine maintenance.
Thiells-Mount Ivy Road has seen increased traffic over the years as drivers have increasingly used it as a shortcut between Route 202 and Stony Point. Though changes to the road have been suggested for over a decade, residents renewed calls for improvements after the January 2013 death of Clarkstown North graduate Anthony Amoros in a tragic car accident on the road.
[Correction – Haverstraw resident Ira Shulein spoke at the meeting. He had been quoted as saying speeding cars and the presence of high density housing on the road added to the dangers posed for travelers. He has clarified that his comments did not focus on these issues, but rather on the conditions of the road itself, which he continues to feel have not been addressed].
Likewise, Haverstraw Town Supervisor Howard Phillips argued older sections of the road did pose risks, particularly at the bend by the golf course and along certain stretches where drainage flowed down road rather than to the side. Phillips also reiterated that the road had changed with the years and an update was overdue.
“I’m just asking, please don’t give up on it,” Phillips said. “This road has changed drastically in the amount of cars and trucks traveling on it.”
Connors countered, however, that the road was generally in good shape and can handle its current level of traffic. He added that poor driving habits were difficult to anticipate merely through design and suggested traffic enforcement might have to increase.
At least one capital improvement project is slated for Thiells-Mount Ivy Road. County Executive Ed Day stated on January 8 that about $1.5 million in state aid had been requested for the reconstruction of the Suffern Lane intersection at Hammond Road and Thiells-Mount Ivy Road
Another broader $2.5 million proposal stalled while the county determines its necessity. County Legislator Ilan Schoenberger stated, however, that the legislature would be willing to support an executive-endorsed improvement plan.
“We stand by that commitment,” Schoenberger said.
Connors said state approval for the intersection update funds was likely, but might come piecemeal, meaning any fix could be years in the making. The issue of updates will likely be brought to the Department’s Transportation Improvement Council in May.
Phillips told the Rockland County Times that prior concerns over lighting on the road had already been addressed in recent years.