Intersection of Routes 23 and 94 to be discussed

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:47

    HAMBURG-With some optimism, borough officials, business owners and other residents are awaiting today's town meeting with Department of Transportation officials to find out the state's latest plan in the long-awaited realignment of Routes 23 and 94. What's being billed as an "informal public information center" on the project will be held at 4 p.m. today in Hamburg Borough Hall. State officials will answer questions and explain the project. For the past several years, a variety of meetings have been held and plans put forward to both widen and improve the 23/94. Construction will exacerbate congestion at the busy intersection, but most believe the improvement is long overdue. "I'm for it, that's for sure," said Councilman William Cunningham. "We're sure it will help the traffic through Hamburg. We're right in the middle of the town. We get the traffic, but none of the benefits." According to a recent D.O.T. letter to the borough, the project will entail the "realignment and widening" of the 23/94 junction including "dedicated left-turn lanes on all four approaches." To do that, the D.O.T. reportedly will condemn several buildings close to the intersection and take land from the perimeters of commercial property. The D.O.T. plans a new 13-space municipal parking lot at the corner of 23 and Linwood Avenue, at least partly to compensate for the expected loss of parking spaces on the outer edge of the strip mall at the 23/94 junction. Also planned is an extension of Orchard Street that would cross over 94 and continue behind existing businesses on Main Street. According to one borough official, it will no longer be possible to make left-hand turns onto Main Street from 94. Instead, a turn will be allowed off the new Orchard Street instead. Also planned are new sidewalks and a "park/sitting area" on the southwest corner of the junction, which has seen numerous traffic accidents occur within recent years. Cunningham feels that the delays in getting the project underway are more the result of lack of funding than local opposition. "Everybody knows you can't drive through Hamburg on a Friday night," the councilman added, saying all nights are bad, but "Friday night is really a horror show, especially in the summer." The work is expected to begin sometime by next year or 2006.