Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Prospect Mountain project will ramp up with two changes drivers should be aware of around the construction zone.
The New York Department of Transportation will also keep drivers informed daily with overhead message boards and online updates with 511 NY.
Monday the DOT put a crossover into place on Route 17 west between the Mygatt Street exit and Airport Road exit. The eastbound lanes will carry traffic in both directions with a separation barrier in place. There will be a signed detour at the Industrial Park exit for traffic heading into the City of Binghamton using Court Street.
Wednesday the DOT will reduce traffic to two lanes on Interstate 81 South. Also, southbound traffic will not be able to exit onto Route 7 or Brandywine. Exits 4N and 4S will be closed.
The changes will remain in place throughout the construction season. It will allow for more room in the work zone as crews work from east to west.
The DOT is continuing the first phase of the project to reconstruct the interchange of Interstate 81 and Route 17. Jack Williams, Region 9 Director, said the project is on schedule. New bridges over the Chenango River, Mygatt and Prospect streets should be completed and open in 2014
The DOT will use off peak hours for major work like pouring concrete decks. It's using Intelligence Transportation Systems to keep drivers informed daily. Features of the system include a closed circuit television camera, highway advisory radio and overhead message signs. The signs will advise drivers of how long it will take to travel through the work zone.
"Users will be able to access 511 NY through their phones, through their computers, through their Facebook page to be able to get still shots of the traffic flow that will be updated every 15 seconds so that they will be able to make a conscious decision on whether they want to enter the prospect mountain work zone, said Williams.
Williams said peak travel times are between the hours of 7:00 am to 9:00 am and 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm. The DOT found that 90 percent of the traffic using the interchange during those hours is local. Williams said it's important for local drivers to be aware of the traffic changes and alternate routes that may take them to their destination.
"Our hope is that as many people, when they become aware of this, will divert their routes to be able to whether they choose to use the signed detour or exit in advanced of the work zone they'll be able to find their way into Binghamton through alternate routes.
The Prospect Mountain project is a major portion of the overall upgrades on Route 17 to meet federal highway standards and become Interstate 86. Work on the interchange will be done in two phases. Williams said the first phase should be complete by December 2015. The second phase could start during the completion of phase one. The goal is to make travel through the interchange safer with more bridges and lanes to take traffic in different directions rather than mergers and lane changes taking place around the Prospect Mountain curve.