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State deciding on three or five lanes for Route 20 in Hamburg

State engineers are planning a continuous two-way turning lane along a stretch of Southwestern Boulevard (Route 20) in Hamburg that has seen more than its share of nasty accidents.

Whether the road will be reconfigured to three or five lanes between Amsdell and Lakeview roads has not been determined.

Residents living in the area said they were concerned about the safety in the Pleasant Road area after at least three people died on the road in crashes over a four-year period. The State Department of Transportation examined accident rates and found there was a higher accident rate than on comparable roads, and came up with several alternatives to reduce the number and severity of accidents within the project limits.

"They tend to be rear end accidents from people trying to make a left turn safely," said Susan Surdej, spokeswoman for the state DOT, which is accepting public comments on the state's plan through Friday.

The state DOT's preferred alternative is having three lanes: one eastbound, one westbound and a 16-foot wide two-way turning lane in the center, for an estimated cost of $1.1 million.

The other two options are five lanes: two eastbound, two westbound and an 11-foot wide turning lane. The option with shoulders on the sides of the road would cost $5.52 million, and the option with curbs would cost $11.36 million.

"Our traffic analysis is in that section we could adequately carry the traffic in that section with three lanes," Surdej said.

All the alternatives – other than the do-nothing option – include resurfacing of the road.

The daily average traffic volume on Route 20 is 15,049 between Amsdell and Pleasant Avenue, 14,824 between Pleasant and Lakeview and 12,671 between North Creek Road and Lakeview.

Once a design is selected and contractor selected later this year, construction is expected to be completed in the summer of 2018.

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