|
The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Interstate 99 on the final stretch

  • An interstate highway from the Corning area to Williamsport, Pa., is expected to become a reality within a few years as crews recently began the final phase of a project to upgrade U.S. Highway 15 in Lindley.

    • email print
  • An interstate highway from the Corning area to Williamsport, Pa., is expected to become a reality within a few years as crews recently began the final phase of a project to upgrade U.S. Highway 15 in Lindley.
    Lawmakers and state Department of Transportation officials announced Monday that crews have begun construction on six bridges that will make U.S. Highway 15 an interstate-eligible roadway from Lindley to the Pennsylvania line.
    U.S. 15 is four lanes from I-86 in Painted Post to I-180 in Williamsport, except for a five-mile stretch in Lindley. Crews have constructed a four-lane road adjacent to U.S. 15 in Lindley, but the bridges -- three over roadways and three over creeks -- are needed to connect the groundwork, which is scheduled to be completed this month.
    By the time the bridges are completed in late 2013 or 2014, the entire stretch of U.S. 15 from I-86 to I-180 will be eligible for interstate status. An official designation of the roadway as I-99 is expected not long after the bridges are complete.
    “This is truly exciting and long-awaited progress for the Southern Tier and the states of New York and Pennsylvania,” state Sen. Tom O’Mara, R-Big Flats, said Monday. “Once completed, I-99 will be a better, safer, less congested and more efficient roadway for those who travel it every day.”
    Also, I-99 is expected to expand commerce.
    “Completing this link has been a high priority and will be a boon to economic development,” DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald said. “By constructing this highway to federal interstate standards, we will create an uninterrupted corridor for shipping and commerce between New York state and Pennsylvania, as well as boosting trade with Canada and shipping to points throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast.”
    Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, R-Corning, said the economic impact of I-99 can’t be understated, but the safety of drivers is just as important.
    “We’ve had a lot of people die on this route over the years,” he said. “Moving to the next and last phase of I-99 construction will bring us the highway safety features we’ve long sought for this route.”
    The cost of the bridge project will be $31 million. The groundwork in Lindley cost $46 million.
    Eventually, I-99 will connect I-86 and I-68 in Cumberland, Md.
     
      • calendar