Prospect Provisions

By Matt Markham

March 13, 2012 Updated Mar 14, 2012 at 10:18 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Construction is set to begin on the largest road and bridge project Binghamton has seen in years.
An overhaul is planned for the the Prospect Mountain interchange, linking Route 17 and Interstate 81. How will this affect your commute?And how does it help progress in efforts to upgrade Route 17?

There was a public hearing Tuesday evening at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School on the city's north side, one of the neighborhoods that will be impacted by this massive highway construction plan.

But if you drive through the Prospect Mountain interchange, it will impact your commute.

Large-scale construction is set to begin soon. The first phase has a $135 million price tag.

For the upgrade of Route 17 to Interstate 86, new bridges will be built to carry more lanes of traffic across the Chenango River.

Several houses were already bought and demolished by the state.

Safety concerns are at the root of this construction plan.

Turns will not be as sharp, and merging points will be moved back from the interchange further so drivers aren't changing lanes on a turn.

The area colloquially referred to as Kamikaze Curve is notorious for having serious accidents.

With this project, the whole infrastructure will be safer.

"These bridges were built in the mid-1960s and they are in need of work," says Dave Hamburg, with the NY DOT. "Repairing is the most efficient way to go about that and to bring them up to current standards."

If you cannot attend Tuesday's hearing, there will be another public hearing tomorrow. It's scheduled for 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Woodrow Wilson Elementary on Prospect Street.

Prospect Mountain is just one of several large-scale construction projects for the entire Route 17 project.

Neighbors here can look 80 miles to the east for an idea of what this interstate upgrade may look like in the Southern Tier.

Last summer, we brought you to the Parksville area of Sullivan County, where a $95 million project eliminated intersections and even a traffic light on Route 17 with a three-mile bypass.

It includes thirteen new bridges.

The new highway is just about complete.

The project began in 2009.

The stretch of road between Deposit and Hancock is also accessed by at-grade crossings.

The date for choosing a final design plan there has been delayed several times.