Input Sought For Highway Work Near Seaway Plaza

Input Sought For Highway Work Near Seaway Plaza

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The area where Route 11 splits into Route 37 just outside of Watertown is dangerous, according to area business owners.

They say it's especially bade outside of Seaway Plaza, where 92 year old Myrtle Benway of Watertown died after being injured in a car accident there almost one week ago.

Stanley Layo owns a resale store in the plaza and says he has witnessed accidents like that one firsthand.

"I've seen people with head-on collisions out there. I've seen people in the wrong lanes going toward traffic. It's not very specific about which way you can go and which way you can't. It becomes a very dangerous intersection," said Layo, SML II Variety Store. 

The state Department of Transportation is investing nearly $4.5 million to make the two intersections safer for drivers and less complicated.

D.O.T. spokesman Mike Flick says the department is proposing a variety of construction ideas in a public meeting next week.

"What we're looking at doing is realigning the intersection in front of Seaway Plaza. One of the things we're talking about is the possibility of a roundabout," he said.

Flick says the highway hasn't been updated since it was built back in the 70s and that it's time to make adjustments to control traffic flow.

Linda Petrie owns Northern Glass at the other end of Route 11, near Route 37, where she has also witnessed incidents.

"When winter starts, it is common to have someone spin out out front, especially since people are getting used to being more cautious and slowing down when they're driving," she said.

Flick says the project will likely start in the spring of 2020 and finish that fall.

"We want to reduce the number of decisions that people have to make in a short period of time out there. That all works to help improve the safety of the highway and it makes it flow better as well," he said.

The meeting will be held next Thursday at the North Pole Fire Hall off of Route 11 from 6 to 8 p.m. 

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