Letter to the Editor – Upgrade 219 before Route 60

Posted on March 27th, 2016

by Michael Barriss, Observer Today

Link to Article

In the article “Upgrading Route 60” (OBSERVER, March 14) the reporter writes “At the local level, officials say improving traffic flow on Route 60 is needed to connect the Greater Jamestown region and Dunkirk-Fredonia area, with an emphasis on improving public safety. Such ideas include multiple passing opportunities on the highway, added turning lanes and safer intersections. State Sen. Cathy Young, R-C-I Olean, said she believes a study by the state Department of Transportation should be done to determine if any upgrades should be made.”

In my Letter to the Editor, “Comparing Route 60 and I-86 is inappropriate” (OBSERVER, July 16, 2009), I wrote, “Route 60 currently has heavy traffic of 18-wheel gasoline transporters from the refinery in Warren, Pa., to markets in Dunkirk, Buffalo, and Rochester. Crossett Transport is currently operating 65 tractors daily for this purpose on this route.

“The ongoing four-laning construction of New York State Route 219 will eventually re-route the bulk of this traffic from Route 60 as long as the New York State Thruway retains its tolls. Route 219 parallels Route 60 30 miles to the east. Route 219 currently has four lanes except for a 30-mile mountainous stretch from Springville to the I-86 exit in Salamanca.”

That 30-mile section has since been reduced to a 26-mile section through construction completed in November 2010. Completion of Route 219 four-laning would also provide an expressway between Buffalo and Jamestown as well as other points.

Sen. Young discussed this project in the article “State officials discuss $200M project” (OBSERVER, Feb. 3). “The federal government has passed transportation funds. I would love to be able to work with you (President Zemsky of Empire State Development and Commissioner of the NY State Department of Economic Development) to get this kick-started again. There are several stakeholders, as you know. We’ve looked at logistics, we’ve looked at economic development, and there are many, many exciting things happening in Western New York. To have that major north-south route that would go from Toronto, Canada, all the way down to Florida would be phenomenal. I think this is a really great opportunity and would only add to what the Governor and the Legislature have been able to accomplish over the past couple years.”

I conclude that the Route 219 project has priority over any work on Route 60.

Michael C. Barris, PhD is a Fredonia resident.