A Driver's Perspective of Rt 17/I-81 Interchange

By Brennan Smith

March 14, 2012 Updated Mar 15, 2012 at 9:48 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Plans to reconfigure the Route 17 and Interstate 81 interchange continue to be revealed to the public.

As the New York State Department of Transportation gets ready to direct traffic and dig up some dirt.

It's showing its plans, once again, to the public.

Wednesday night at Woodrow Wilson Elementary, the DOT showcased the $135 million phase one of the project, giving the public a look at what's headed our way.

"As a stranger, you have to make decisions at the last minute, and then the merge-points that are actually on the bridge with a curve are very dangerous," said resident Frank Cecelin.

These are just some of the problems Cecelin has identified with the interchange.

He's no stranger to it.

He used to drive tractor-trailers and made his way through kamakazie curve many times.

"They change lanes abruptly without benefit of turn signal, both local and out-of-towners, but the out-of-towners are really at a disadvantage. The signage is inadequate and the lanes are not laid out very well. There's many squeeze-points through there both going west on 17 and on the bridge by exit 4 to go north on I-81. It's a little tricky," said Cecelin.

"it's going to be a lot safer. We are making people make decisions before they actually get into the curve, and we're improving the bridges and making them up to standard in the mid 1960's, it was handling about 30 to 35,000 vehicles. Now you're looking at twice that, more than 70,000 vehicles that are using the infrastructure in the Prospect Mountain area and the bridges each day," said Dave Hamburg from the New York State Department of Transportation.

The first phase of the project will start in early Spring.

The New York State Department of Transportation says it will do its best to begin road work without inconveniencing drivers.

It is advising them to consider alternate routes.