NORWICH – A meeting of the New York State Route 12 Corridor Task Force, formed in 2000, attracted a large crowd to the Eaton Center Tuesday morning.
About 25 members of the state and county transportation departments along the 84-mile stretch from U.S. Route 11 in Broome County to NYS Thruway I-90 in Utica came to hear a consultant’s study about upgrading the roadway. Enhancements could include limited access portions with passing lanes, a truck bypass of Norwich, an interconnecter to Interstate 81, incorporating Routes 320, 23 and 8, as well as a stand alone four-lane highway.
New York State Department of Transportation officials say the latter would cost in excess of $750 million and take more than 30 years to build. It is estimated that a Route 12 Interstate would save travelers 30 minutes to get from Binghamton to Utica. It currently takes about 1 hour and 49 minutes.
Task Force members representing Chenango, Broome, Madison, Herkimer and Oneida counties debated whether building an interstate would be cost prohibitive, and eliminated from the study on that basis alone. NYSDOT’s Anjan Sen said, “We should drop it. It would not help in economic growth because it would cost too much to do.” Task Force member J.C. Waszkiewicz disagreed. “It would save 30 minutes in travel time to the casino (Turning Stone). The Adirondacks draws tourism from snowmobiling. I’d hate to just discard it on the basis of no economic benefit. I would like us to keep is as a potential long-term goal. Make limited access improvements to it now.”