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Local News

July 29, 2013

State to study road leading to Chobani

The state Department of Transportation has started “a full study of traffic issues’’ along state Route 8 in Chenango County approaching the Chobani plant, a state senator who sought assistance said Friday.

The DOT has already made some improvements, Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, said in a media release. He recently wrote to Joan McDonald, DOT commissioner, calling for a study that would identify trouble spots and a plan to resolve issues.

Seward said McDonald reported immediate actions taken included better warning signs along several horizontal curves and at intersections with sight limitations. A guard rail damaged during an accident was upgraded, according to the commissioner, and center-line rumble strips are to be installed along several segments this summer.

McDonald recently confirmed that the DOT initiated a study to identify short-term, intermediate and long-range improvements for several sections along Route 8 that have greater occurrences of truck and other accidents, according to Seward.

On June 25, Seward joined representatives from the Otsego County and Chenango County planning departments, state police, the DOT and Chobani to discuss traffic issues.

In early June, The Daily Star reported that there had been 26 tractor-trailer accidents on Route 8 in South New Berlin in just three years — with most of them happening at one of three curves in the road.

Earlier in June, South New Berlin Fire Chief Kevin Christian told The Daily Star there had been approximately 26 tractor-trailer accidents — most of them involving rigs headed to the Chobani yogurt plant — along a short stretch of State Route 8 over the past three years.

“About 90 percent of them were going to Chobani,” Christian said at the time. 

New Berlin Police Chief Domenick Commesso had echoed Christian’s concerns, pointing out that truck traffic passes Unadilla Valley Central School on state Route 8. 

“They definitely need to do some work on Route 8, in my opinion, “ Commesso said previously. “The road is twisty and curvy. I can’t believe it was designed for truck traffic.”

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