Saugerties town officials want tri-color traffic light at tricky intersection by Thruway exit

(File photo by Dion Ogust)

Concerned Saugerties town officials are drafting a letter urging the Department of Transportation to install a tri-color traffic light at the intersection of the southbound Thruway Exit and Route 32, across from Winston Farms. The already-dangerous intersection is bound to become more treacherous, said officials at a Dec. 11 town board meeting, when the Thruway Authority shifts to a cashless tolling system — the removal of the toll plaza, which slows incoming traffic, is already underway.

According to Highway Superintendent Doug Myer, “hundreds of accidents” have taken place there over the years.

“[Write] as stern of a letter as you feel comfortable with to whomever needs to hear it that we don’t want on-the-shelf votes,” said Myer to the town board when the intersection was discussed.


According to the Washington State Department of Transportation website (the New York State DOT site did not have comparable figures to cite), it costs taxpayers between $250,000 to $500,000 to purchase and install a traffic signal; electric bills and routine maintenance amount to about $8,000 a year. The New York DOT reports that they receive over 1,000 traffic signal requests per year — once a request is received, the request receives a case number, an engineer is assigned to the particular site and traffic conditions are documented. A 2007 study, “Saugerties Area Mobility Analysis,” conducted by the Thruway Authority, DOT, the Ulster County Planning Board, town and village officials, representatives from CSX and other shareholders, suggested that a roundabout be installed at the site to lessen the frequency of accidents, and called the area “under-signaled.” As of 2007, the intersection was considered the highest trafficked site in the town with an average of over 9,000 vehicles per day.

According to town board member Leeanne Thornton, the Saugerties Transportation Advisory Council invited representatives from the DOT and the Thruway Authority to its meeting earlier this month to discuss possible solutions to prevent future accidents. Thornton said that both representatives agreed that “more studies need[ed] to be conducted.”

“It’s just a delay tactic,” she said at the meeting. “You could just tell that everyone was patting each other on the back.”

Although the board sent letters to the Thruway Authority and the DOT in April, Town Supervisor Fred Costello Jr. said that they intend to do so again. “It would be good to remind them what needs to be done.”

As of April, according to a resolution that the board passed previously, there were 25 accidents at the intersection in the last five and a half years.

“[We should] see if [County Executive Pat Ryan] could throw some weight behind this,” said town board member John Schoonmaker. “He’s been very proactive and very vocal on a lot of issues.”


There are 10 comments

  1. Dolores

    I think a traffic light at the NYS thruway exit/entrance on Rt 32N is very very necessary. I drive this road every day and with the increased traffic this is a necessity. There are too many accidents or close calls at this location.

  2. Brian

    Definitely need a real light here. Too many close calls and accidents. Not to mention some idiot showed my wife his gun because she didn’t make that left turn quick enough for his liking. Hoping to meet you someday grey Subaru guy.

    1. Eliza

      I hope you got a plate #, people are crazy. I had a close call here once when I turned off the thruway to head North on 32. Some jerk in a POS riceburner came flying up 32 and apparently I wasn’t accelerating fast enough. Passed me on the double yellow right before Sunoco and ended up turning into Sunoco anyway. All that just to turn in 500ft – blows my mind. Have witnessed many other close calls though.

  3. Melissa

    I was in a very bad accident at that Intersection this summer on my way home from work.( I was literally 2 minutes from making it home) I was traveling north on 32 and the other driver was traveling south. Just as we both approached the thruway entrance/exit the other driver never stopped just made a left turn to get on the thruway RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME! I never had a chance to hit my breaks and hit that vehicle about 40mph. I was out of work 14 weeks because of my injuries and need another surgery that will put me out another 12 weeks. I had a guardian angel that day. The next person my not be so lucky! Let’s get a light there before someone dies!

  4. M.Barbier

    I had a accident there in 06 right before Christmas. I have wrote and called about this road, and that intersection . The speed limit should be 40 up to Peoples road. The traffic has increased terribly and if you are turning off 32 . you hold you breath while waiting to turn . SO I beg the town to add that we slow the people down in this area, Kids are getting off school buses , It is hard to get into businesses. So many people come off the Thruway and have no clue where they are going or what hotel they want . PLEASE < PLEASE ADD A LIGHT AND SLOW THE SPEED LIMIT BEFORE SOMEONE GETS KILLED. ( i watched a young lady not even stop today and almost got hit but due to the quick thinking of the other driver he missed her and she then ended up in front of us and did nto even know she almost got t-boned. I urge the state to again get to work on this .

  5. Mitch

    I have to turn left here every M-F afternoon. Most stressful part of my commute to/from Albany. There was a major wreck there one of the days. Glad there is action being taken. Although I can’t believe one traffic signal costs 250-500k. That is absurd.

    1. Retired IBEW LU 363 Electrician

      Actually, it sounds fairly reasonable a price for the high tech, sturdily built traffic light and equipment, new wiring (more function, more control, more conductors), the trained professionals too install, wire, program (This light, when programed, should not be a “timed” traffic light, at all, but should work off of a magnetic field, remaining green for Route 32, and only changing when being triggered, through the mag. field, when a car needs to egress, by way of the reservoir lane, or exit the Thru-way.), and those too perform safety protocols (ie: flagmen, law enforcement, etc.). Then this new “equipment”, would need testing, inspection, and certification before being correctly and lawfully incorporated into the mix. There is a lot of different people and trades, along with expensive equipment, and different “infrastructure” involved, that would entail such a large amount. In the end, money should not stifle public safety, this full tri-color traffic light at this intersection is long overdue, and should have been completed before yesterday.

  6. Jeff D.

    A roundabout further north would be a better more permanent option, with a tri-colored signal, traffic could potentially back up onto 87 during peak times, which would be far more dangerous than how it is now….

  7. Brian

    Its gonna be a roundabout. The DOT wont put another traffic light so close to the already existing one at 212/32. The only answer to alleviate the congestion and severity of the accidents is to incorporate
    a roundabout into 32/212 and the thruway. This has been going on for years, Maybe we should start a letter writing campaign. Delgado, Tague, Coumo should all hear from us.

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