The State Department of Transportation announced their ideas for improving Route17, the future I-86, which include a possible general purpose third lane or a high occupancy lane. The addition would begin at exit 120 in Middletown and end at exit 131 in the Monroe area.
If the HOV lane is constructed, the advantages would include a decrease in commute time, a staged approach to future mass transit, and a decrease in emissions, said the DOT’s Regional Landscape Architecture/Environmental Manager Sandra Jobson.
“One of the reasons that we still have the high occupancy vehicle lane is because we believe that that could in the future go to bus rapid transit,” Jobson said.
The disadvantages would be that it costs more than a general use third lane, and it requires widening at interchanges for access to and from HOV lanes.
The project cost range is $800 million to $3 billion.
Jobson explained that one of the reasons for the HOV lane is for its future potential to hold a high volume of buses.
The general use third lane would cost less to build at a cost range of $200 million to $700 million, and would reduce congestion. The drawbacks include that it does little to increase transit ridership, and it continues pattern of sprawl.
“Both of these feasible alternatives would address safety concerns and capacity issues,” said Jobson.
NYSDOT is still in the developmental stage by brain storming transportation alternatives and holding public workshops.
The next workshop is on December 4 at the Rock Hill Fire Department in Sullivan County from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.