The New York State Department of Transportation recently completed a $2.5 million project to modernize the eastern intersection of State Routes 17B and 55 in the town of Bethel, Sullivan County, and many of the people who work and live in the vicinity are very happy with the results.
“Everybody is thrilled about the left turn signal and the improvements for walking traffic,” said Kristine Petrik, co-owner of Java Love Coffee Roasting Company on 17B near the intersection. She talks to customers every day and said they like the improvements.
The project widened the intersection of State Routes 17B and 55, added pedestrian crossing signals at all four corners of the intersection and a left-turn lane and traffic signal on State Route 17B eastbound. In addition, a sidewalk that is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act was added along the south side of Route 17B from Mattison Road to Schultz Road, enhancing safe access to area destinations, including White Lake, seasonal and year-round communities, places of worship and area businesses.
Daniel Sturm, Bethel Town Supervisor, said, “The Town of Bethel, including our year-round residents and our tourists, is extremely pleased with the recent upgrades to that busy section of route 17B. It looks great and is much safer for both pedestrians and drivers. We thank the DOT and the State for all their hard work as we try to work together and make our Town the best it could be.”
Route 17B has experienced significant increases in traffic volume over the past two decades due to local development, including Bethel Woods, Resorts World Catskills, Monticello Raceway and Racino, summer camps and housing developments.
NYSDOT worked closely with all stakeholders in planning the intersection improvements. Construction began in April 2018 and wrapped up this fall. NYSDOT crews kept traffic moving throughout construction and no work was performed during Bethel Woods’ Woodstock 50th Celebration. New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “The project to modernize the eastern intersection of State Routes 17B and 55 is an example of how sound transportation policy and an open, collaborative process can lead to great results for a community. I’d like to thank the citizens and leadership of Bethel for working with us on this important project, making it a success that residents and visitors can be proud of.”