Gov. Cuomo Touts Initiative to Accelerate $150M Project by Woodbury Common Exit
John Jordan | February 2017
WOODBURY—Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a stop at the New York State Thruway Authority Harriman Maintenance facility in Orange County on Feb. 26th to tout his expedited $150-million reconstruction of the Route 17 Exit 131 and adjacent New York State Thruway Harriman exit. The first dirt on the long-delayed project, which will greatly improve traffic to the highly popular Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, will be turned this November.
The project entitled the “Woodbury Transit and Economic Hub” will be completed five years ahead of schedule; moving up the expected completion of the design-build project from 2024 to 2019, Gov. Cuomo said. The project will further bolster Woodbury Common’s booming tourism sector and strengthen the local economy—create more than 600 jobs and significantly reduce congestion in the Mid-Hudson region, he noted at the press conference.
Gov. Cuomo announced plans to expedite the long-delayed project as part of his State of the State message back on Jan.10. The project calls for the New York State Department of Transportation to expand the Route 32 corridor, replace the Route 32 bridge over Route 17, reconfigure the ramp leading to the New York State Thruway (I-87), and add a solar-powered bus station, an expanded commuter parking lot, and an Intelligent Transportation System that adapts to changing traffic conditions. Each of these enhancements, including the addition of cashless tolling, will improve access and allow for increased commercial activity.
The project had been on the drawing boards for more than a decade, but had been pushed back and was not expected to begin for some time until the governor decided recently to fast-track the project.
“This design-build project will significantly accelerate completion of a streamlined, state-of-the-art transportation network at a critical juncture, creating hundreds of jobs and growing the regional economy by improving access to this vital commercial corridor,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The overhaul of these roads and traffic patterns, along with the addition of cashless tolling and enhanced public transit options, will ease congestion for those who live, travel, work, eat, and shop here, while supporting the future growth of the Mid-Hudson region.”
On Feb. 3, the New York State Department of Transportation issued a Request for Qualifications for the design-build project. The due date for the Statement of Qualifications from the interested firms is March 14th, according to state documents. NYSDOT will review the qualifications of the design-build firms and announce a short list of qualified firms in mid-April. Those firms will then be allowed to submit proposals on the project, with the project awarded and work scheduled to begin in November 2017. Work on the project is anticipated to be completed in November 2019.
State transportation officials stressed the importance of the project that will also provide better access to the Montreign Casino and Resort in Sullivan County that is currently under construction and possibly to the LEGOLAND New York theme park in Goshen, which is now in the approval process.
NYSDOT Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll said, “This design-build project will improve motorist and pedestrian safety for all who live, work, and shop here, helping to ensure the economic competitiveness of the Hudson Valley region for generations to come. We look forward to getting shovels in the ground on this project later this year.”
Bill Finch, acting executive director of the New York State Thruway Authority, added, “Building upon the 2016 implementation of cashless tolling at the Tappan Zee Bridge, the conversion at the Harriman Toll Barrier will enable motorists to experience safer and more convenient travel in the Mid-Hudson Valley. This state-of-the-art technology, which is being used on many roads and bridges around the nation, will also ease congestion and help the environment by reducing idling, and the Thruway Authority is proud to be a part of this project.”
As a part of the project, the New York State Thruway Authority will implement cashless tolling at the Harriman Toll Barrier, ensuring that motorists driving through this interchange would be able to pass through more quickly. The authority will convert the toll barrier for northbound traffic seeking to access Woodbury Common and New York State Route 17 exit of the Thruway to cashless tolling. For southbound traffic from the Thruway’s ticketed portion of the system, two toll lanes would remain in place.
Major elements of the project include:
• Improved access to Woodbury Common Premium Outlets.
• Replacing the Route 32 bridge over Route 17, which will include standard Interstate height clearance over Route 17.
• Reconstruction and expansion of Park and Ride facilities, which will include a bus stop and solar-powered bus station to promote public transit.
• Reconfiguring the Route 17, Exit 131 eastbound ramp leading to the Thruway.
• A new interconnected and adaptive traffic signal system along Route 32 to minimize delays and enhance access to local businesses and schools
• Intelligent Transportation Systems to adapt to changing traffic conditions and optimize signal responses.
Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus described the project as “one of the most important projects for the Hudson Valley.” He added, “With this exciting development, we are one step further in transforming the corridor from a burden into a vital asset. I look forward to working alongside our partners at the state, federal and local level of government to get this critical project completed and to keep moving our region and our economy forward.”
Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and other state political leaders were also on hand for the event.