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CONSTRUCTION DELAYS ON ROUTE 16 STIR COMPLAINTS

A contractor's proposal to divert Route 16 traffic around road construction in the southern half of Franklinville for three weeks was met with stiff resistance by Village Board members at a Monday night meeting.

Mayor Judy L. Harrington said no official request has been made, but road crews, at work on a state Department of Transportation resurfacing project over the entire 1 1/2 -mile length of the village, are relaying the information to townspeople.

She said at least one business owner was told by the contractor that traffic along Main Street, or Route 16, would be shut down from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. while paving is completed between the stop light and the village's southern boundary.

"Who's really in charge?" Harrington asked, complaining that she was forced to phone the contractor to ask for an explanation.

She said she was told that the village faces a three-week detour or months of stopping traffic for long periods of time.

Trustee Rich Larsson said some local businesses could be forced to close their doors if traffic is shut off and recalled promises from state DOT officials that there would be no detours in the project.

"I think this is a blatant change if not a lie," said Larsson, pointing to repeated delays in the project and failure of the contractors to patch lawns and fill deep holes that present hazards to both pedestrians and vehicles.

"I think it's a desperate effort to catch up," said trustee Terry Hahn.

Several raised issues of access for emergency vehicles and the need to keep entrances open for the post office and medical center.

On Friday, the contractor spoke to the superintendent of Public Works and village clerk about the plan. According to Public Works Superintendent Mark Wenger all vehicular traffic is to be detoured along Elm Street and over a two-lane county road, Cadiz Road, to Route 98.

Both village and county lawmakers must approve the detour or paving would have to proceed one lane at a time with more extensive delays than are currently being experienced.

"We don't want to be left with the mess all winter," said Wenger.

Harrington said she would attempt to contact the contractor this morning for more information and board members agreed to hold a special session if necessary. They agreed to invite DOT representatives and the contractor to attend the session.

Omer Construction began the work in early spring, removing trees and replacing sewer lines. Sidewalks were removed, trenches were dug and other preparations were made for curb replacement in the southern half of the village. Residents there could not use driveways when that work was delayed several weeks.

The top layers of asphalt were recently removed along that section, exposing the original brick pavement in preparation for paving. Work on sidewalks and sewer mains is now progressing in the northern portion of the project. Work must be finished by Nov. 30.

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