A controversial traffic-detour proposal for the resurfacing of Route 16 that some feared would harm businesses has been abandoned.
Work will proceed as planned in one lane at a time, according to a state official responsible for overseeing the work.
But about 20 merchants and local officials, alarmed by rumors that traffic would be diverted for three weeks in a detour away from the business district, attended an emergency session of the Franklinville Village Board Wednesday night and called for increased communication from the state Department of Transportation and its contractor, Omer Construction Co.
The purpose of the meeting was to give the board an opportunity to vote on Omer's request for the detour, and for merchants to raise their concerns. But despite an invitation from the mayor neither DOT Project Manager Larry Mazurczyk nor a representative from Omer attended the session.
"Because the detour is dead we won't be there -- me nor the contractor," said Mazurczyk Wednesday afternoon, adding he had already made other plans for the evening and hadn't received a call back from Bob Spengler, Omer Construction's project manager.
Mazurczyk said he decided not to come after learning Spengler and Cattaraugus County, whose consent is also needed to reroute traffic, failed to reach a resolution in permitting a detour over two county roads, Elm Street and Cadiz Road.
"The contractor did talk to the county and there was supposed to be some more talk but that never happened," he said, adding the potential detour was a "very small thing that was just blown out of proportion and nobody came to say what's going on."
"I feel it was a slap in the face for them not to show up tonight to address your issues," said Mayor Judy L. Harrington, after commending a group of business owners who also met Tuesday night to work out problems they are experiencing because of the construction.
Several business owners complained that workers have blocked entrances for long periods without warning, don't maintain the driveway signs erected by the contractor, and direct traffic in a haphazard way.
The board voted to assign a village patrolman to help control the speed of traffic past the Franklinville Central School District after Superintendent Richard M. Wachter expressed concerns about safety at the crosswalk connecting the Elementary School and high school. The crosswalk already is manned in the morning and at dismissal time by a crossing guard. The board ordered a patrolman at that location between 7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
"I was not aware of the magnitude of their construction they would be doing in front of the school. It's an accident waiting to happen," Wachter said.
"They should have done this in July and August, not September," said Wachter, calling for a visible police presence near the crosswalk at the start and end of the school day.
The board also voted to call Mazurczyk and Spengler to attend the board's Oct. 11 meeting for more discussions and Mrs. Harrington promised to ask Mazurczyk if he would send mailings to residents about the progress of the work.