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Fredonia roundabout project scheduled to finish in summer

OBSERVER Photo by Gregory Bacon The state Department of Transportation says the roundabout that is being constructed at the intersection of Routes 20 and 60 should be done by this summer.

The installation of a roundabout in Fredonia is continuing to take shape.

Construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Routes 20 and 60 began a little over a year ago. Last year much of the work focused on infrastructure, including relocating electric poles. In the fall, the state ripped up parts of the intersection, so it could install the necessary drainage. Afterward, temporary pavement was put down for the winter as the project took its scheduled hiatus.

In March, crews were once again back at the intersection. The state decided not to halt the project when COVID-19 shut many construction projects down, deeming it “essential.”

Now, the outlining of the roundabout is starting to take shape.

“Concrete sidewalks will be installed this week on the southwest quadrant of the intersection next to Rite Aid, weather permitting. Temporary pavement markings will follow that to direct traffic through the intersection as crews construct the roundabout’s center island,” explained Susan Surdej, regional public information officer for the state Department of Transportation, in an email to the OBSERVER.

While construction has been backing up traffic, she doesn’t believe the state will need to shut the intersection down completely. “Brief lane closures may be necessary, but there are no plans to shut down the intersection,” she said.

Surdej declined to say when exactly the project will be finished, other than to say its on task to be completed by this summer, the same thing she stated in May 2019 when the project first began.

The entire project is expected to cost taxpayers about $3.7 million. Surdej said that figure is still on target.

Back in 2014, Gov. Andrew Cuomo designated $720,000 for the Routes 20 and 60 intersection for improvement of safety and traffic flow. Speculation immediately began that there could be a roundabout installed.

Two years later the state held its first public hearing on the project. At that time, officials said a safety investigation showed there were 102 accidents from 2010 to 2013. The DOT noted a roundabout meets their safety objective for the project while also addressing the mobility issue of the median. In a four-legged traditional intersection, there are 32 points of conflict where there’s potential for a crash. By entering a roundabout and making right turns, there are only eight points of contact.

The project was initially stalled following lawsuits filed by different business owners. The last lawsuit, which was filed by the owners of McDonalds, was dismissed in May 2019. The project began immediately afterward.

This is the second roundabout in Chautauqua County. The first one, which is in the town of Hanover, was installed in 2013.

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