New Project, New Work

By Brennan Smith

March 13, 2012 Updated Mar 14, 2012 at 12:43 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) It's the first phase of a road reconstruction project that will likely total $300 million.

The New York State Department of Transportation says it's time to replace the bridges on what is known as "Kamikaze Curve."

They've been there since the 1960s.

While they're at it, workers will be changing the configuration of the intersection of state Route 17 and Interstate 81 near Prospect Hill in preparation for the completion of Interstate 86.

Printed out on poster boards, the plans are made public.

"We're going to be closing the Mygatt Street interchange and constructing a brand new interchange at Prospect Street, which will be an off-ramp in the west-bound direction and an on-ramp in the westbound direction," said Dave Hamburg with the New York State Department of Transportation.

Phase one addresses safety by making drivers decide where they're going to go well in advance of the curve around Prospect Hill.

They'll have to go into an individual lane and don't have to weave in and out of traffic.

Phase one of the project is set to begin this spring, bringing lane closures, but also, local leaders say opportunity.

"The scope of this project, and also the amount of investments that are being made with this project, it's a great opportunity for hiring locally, increasing jobs for our residents that we definitely need in our area," said Lea Webb, (D) Binghamton City Council.

These jobs may not all be local, though says Laborers' Local 785.

Members there are disappointed the project will go to non-union workers because the lowest bidding contractor is not unionized.

"We would like them to at least collectively bargain with our union and split the the work 50-50. I'm not saying other people shouldn't have the right to work on one of these jobs, but at least let us local guys work on this job," said Michael Dundon from Laborer's Local 785.