NORTH SALEM, N.Y.--Sen. Terrence Murphy recently announced that $62.2 million in state funds have been awarded to pave and repair miles of state roadways across the Hudson Valley this year. While North Salem’s town-owned roads will not see improvements, Supervisor Warren Lucas said the residents of North Salem will still benefit.
According to Murphy’s June 6 announcement, $55.2 million will go toward paving the 5.6 miles between Exit 8 on Route 684, off Hardscrabble Road in North Salem, and Route 84 in the town of Southeast.
Lucas said this is great news for those who live near Exit 8.
“We have extremely old cement pavement from Southeast to Croton Falls,” Lucas said. “You simply have to drive on the 1965 cement and the transition section near Exit 8, which is already paved, to understand the noise difference to the homes surrounding it. The traffic noise is substantially less when it is repaved.”
The funds are part of a total $403.3 million for pavement improvements on nearly 1,700 miles of roadway across New York State, according to the release.
While Lucas said this is great news, the town still faces continuing problems. Lucas is among officials from five towns who advocate for improvements to local roadways via the I 684-I 84 Municipal Consortium, which was formed in 2014. A common item on their collective agenda is the section of Route 684 through Katonah where it merges to two lanes of traffic. Any expansion to the roadway and exit and entrance ramps that keeps people on Route 684 longer will benefit traffic in North Salem, he said.
“The Katonah section needs to be redone to not constrict 684 backing up traffic North up to the I-84 interchange every morning,” he said. “That backup forces many more cars down all of our town’s side roads to access 684 bypassing the backup, which only makes it worse.”
Lucas said the group came together in March 2014 with a common goal to work to improve the interstate roadways, its traffic flow and the impacts they have on the towns.
The consortium is made up of five towns in Northern Westchester and Putnam counties, includin Bedford, Lewisboro, Somers and Southeast.
Lucas said the group has been effective since its inception.
“We each have slightly different issues with side road traffic and work [that’s] never done and an overall minimal investment in the northern part of the I-684/84 corridor,” Lucas explained. “Across a number of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) meetings, the Department of Transportation has heard our concerns and addressed many of them.”
Markella Barry, who lives on Crosby Road near Exit 8, said she thinks it’s fair that money has been allocated for work on that section of Route 684.
The highway traffic “is horrible and causes significant noise pollution” in her neighborhood. Without any barriers between the highway and her home, which she said is elevated, there is nothing to absorb the sound, and her windows shake at night, as trucks rumble down the highway.
Like many North Salem homes, Barry’s (built in 1933) preceeds the interstate, and she said the town has been very receptive to her concerns that she’s expressed on behalf of the neighborhoods near the highway,
“It takes away from the charm of North Salem’ s serene country life and affects our quality of life,” she said. “Let’s just say I cannot enjoy a drink on my deck and listen to nature, which is the reason people move more north.”