Proposed roundabout moving forward

Attorney for McDonald’s owner disappointed with process

After rescinding its approvals last year, the state Department of Transportation says the proposed roundabout at the intersection of Route 20 and 60 is still moving forward.

In late August, the DOT rescinded all approvals for the project after a lawsuit was filed by McDonald’s Owner Enrico Francani, who challenged the DOT’s determination that the roundabout wasn’t subject to an environmental impact review.

In a statement to the OBSERVER, Susan Surdej, regional public information officer, said the DOT anticipates having the environmental assessment report completed by the end of the month. It would then be made available for public comment for two weeks.

“We would then move to the final design phase, taking into consideration the comments received,” Surdej told the OBSERVER. “The project is currently scheduled for late spring/early summer letting.”

Francani’s lawsuit filed in State Supreme Court was heard in August 2017. The court denied the DOT’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Instead, the court encouraged both sides to work together to identify a solution that addresses highway safety and concerns among local business.

His lawsuit also highlighted changes to the initial plan that benefited neighboring establishments while penalizing the McDonald’s location.

Alan J. Bozer, attorney representing Francani, said they have reached out to the DOT more than once since the decision was made. Unfortunately, Bozer they have not hear back from them as it relates to the DOT’s plans. “I’m disappointed they are finishing up their plans without responding to our inquiries,” Bozer told the OBSERVER. “Our client would like to work the issues out with the DOT. We have an interest in cooperating to get the best plan for the community. To that end, we would appreciate having a collaborative process.”

It’s unknown what changes the DOT has made to the proposed project at this point. The DOT had planned to replace the intersection’s traffic signal with a roundabout and long medians that would prevent motorists from left turns from the highways into various businesses including McDonald’s restaurant, located at 500 E. Main St., Fredonia.