We had to find out, and the best way was going to the construction site.
The rumor proved to be just another falsity in the election season.
“Haven’t even seen a rattlesnake,” said orange helmeted Safety Officer Kevin Mauro, after he finished scolding a reporter for work zone trespassing.
A newly arrived foreman, who said he wasn’t authorized to speak, nonetheless let on that the DEC did have someone “poking around the woods” for a couple of days, thanks to the Endangered Species Act. But no dens were found, and the project never wavered, as they prepare to pour cement for the larger, longer bridge on route 212 between Willow and Mt. Tremper.
Several workers confirmed that other bridge projects are winding down, so they’ll soon have all the manpower they could possible use if they need more workers, and the project will definitely be completed on schedule.
Which is still mid to late November, according to NY State highway department spokesperson Gina Disarro. “Of course,” she said, “after that there will still be occasional closures, one lane at a time, right until the spring.” That’s to do the final finishing.
Then came the subject of the notorious signage. Although the highway department removed all the bewildering ‘East is West’ detours that originally marked route 212 West with the advisory that it was somehow a way to go east, confusion hasn’t quite been obliterated.
For example, anyone currently heading west on 212 from Woodstock — with a closed bridge and blocked road 10 miles ahead, and no way through — merely faces repeated signs telling them that they are now on the “Route 212 detour.” But a detour to where? There’s nothing but oblivion ahead.
Wouldn’t it be better to just have the signs say, “Road closed five miles ahead, or whatever distance?”
“Yes, we’re continuing to look at the detour signs to see if they can be improved,” said Disarro. Then she tackled a different issue. From Woodstock’s vicinity, the department is aware that a much faster route to Mt. Tremper and Phoenicia is not to follow the current detour signs that take motorists to Route 28 west, but rather to take Wittenberg road at Bearsville.
“But we couldn’t let our detour signs advise that route because Wittenberg was scheduled to be paved. And…” she added hesitantly, “I’m not sure it’s approved for trucks.”
Nonetheless, local residents will keep going that way. As long as there are no rattlesnakes.