Hooper Road Construction Has Drivers Looking For Alternate Routes

By Justin Moss

July 22, 2010 Updated Jun 13, 2007 at 6:39 PM EST

Train tracks separate Avenue B north and south.

A petition circulating in the Town of Union hopes to open this railroad crossing to cars, connecting both sides.

Al Belardinelli says drivers need this detour when the Hooper Road Bridge Project shuts out northbound traffic.

"We're going to produce 20 thousand signatures. There's overwhelming support to have this open. The elected officials will hear the voice of the people," says Belardinelli.

The Town of Union is hearing their concerns.

"I think one of the common misconceptions that the public has is that this is a Town of Union decision, the ultimate decision is with the railroad," says Peter Olevano of the Town of Union Public Works.

Norfolk Southern, which owns the track, says residential crossings are a safety hazard.

The state DOT agrees.

"As you can see just from this area, this is a dead end street very small, narrow and we're very concerned about the safety," says Dave Hamburg of the NYS DOT.

The town is looking for other options, like an overpass or underpass.

Supervisor John Bernardo sent this letter today, asking the county and state for ideas.

Even if the Town could re-open Avenue B, it would still take months.

The crossing has been closed for decades.

So a big issue for the Town would be the time and money to clear this path, run the road over the tracks, and add more signals.

The Hooper Bridge project starts in just a few weeks.

Construction could be finished by November, or stretch into next Spring.

The town could apply for a court hearing on the Avenue B issue, which could also take months.

Two years ago, a judge denied a request to open the railroad crossing there.

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