My View: Don't expand a bad exit 110,

build a new, safer 111.

By Alan J. Sorensen

August 22, 2007


     The New York state Department of Transportation's plan to expand exit 110 in the heart of our residential neighborhoods is not a viable alternative to building a new interchange at exit 111.

     The plans to expand exit 110 would involve substantial blasting of rock to make way for an eastbound off and on ramp, removal of mature trees that buffer our lake communities from the highway and additional traffic running through our residential streets. It would also involve the acquisition of a hotel that the owner has just invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in improving.

     Exit 110 already threatens pedestrians and the quality of life within our communities. It should be closed, not expanded.

     On a typical Saturday morning or weekday evening, you will find many Lake Louise and Emerald Green residents walking to shul along Lake Louise Marie Road in the vicinity of the eastbound exit 110 ramps. Every morning our residents and children walk, run or bike along Lake Louise Marie Road.

     The Crescent Hill Synagogue, Lake Louise Marie Park and many homes are within a few feet of exit 110. With respect to the westbound exit 110 ramps, Wurtsboro Mountain Road is the primary access to the recreation area for residents on the South Shore of Wanaksink Lake. Walkers, joggers, bicyclists and small children use this road year-round for access to the Wanaksink Lake Clubhouse.

     There is a present danger for these users, and with the expansion of the exit it would be ever more prevalent. Now is the time to correct the problem, not make it worse.

      Expanding an interstate highway interchange in the middle of such a densely populated and pedestrian-oriented environment makes no sense. The impacts of expanding exit 110 are enormous and the benefits are none. Simply stated, it is not a viable alternative.

     Instead, the Department of Transportation should pursue its alternative plans to build a new interchange at exit 111. A new interchange east of the existing exit 111 would resolve many deficiencies in the interstate highway system.

     To begin, it would be a real interstate highway interchange with east- and westbound ramps and an overpass. This interchange would greatly enhance access to the Emerald Green Lake, Louise Marie, Wanaksink Lake and Wolf Lake communities. It would allow an existing business, Billy's Stop and Convenience Shop, to remain in business.

     The interchange also would greatly enhance emergency response times to our communities from the county sheriff's patrol or the state police stationed in Wurtsboro. It would give the Rock Hill Fire Department a safer means of responding to emergency calls on Interstate 86.

     Remember, it was only a few years ago that a Rock Hill firetruck was struck by a tractor-trailer trying to make a U-turn after responding to a call on Route 17. A new interchange 111 overpass would provide greater safety to those volunteers who risk their lives keeping us safe.

     As traffic increases on Interstate 86, so, too, will the frequency of accidents. Shouldn't the ability to quickly respond to such calls in a safe manner be factored into the equation of selecting a viable alternative?

     The reason Sullivan County pursued Interstate 86 designation was to provide better access, improved safety and long-term economic opportunities. The new interchange 111 achieves all of these objectives; expanding exit 110 achieves none.


Alan J. Sorensen is president of the Emerald Green Property Owners Association.



Sullivan County Government Center 100 North Street Monticello, NY 12701 (845) 793-3000 Ext. 3300