Shandaken supervisor: "Potholes make Rte. 28 unsafe"

By Jay Braman Jr.
Following the lead of several town residents, the Shandaken Town Supervisor has lodged an official complaint with the Region 8 office of the New York State Department of Transportation, saying that Route 28, the main artery which travels through the entire town, has become so pothole- and crater-ridden that it is unsafe for motorists. In a letter written on May 16, Supervisor Peter DiSclafani notified Region 8 Director Joan DuPont that something needs to be done to the state-owned highway.
“This letter is in regards to the very poor and unsafe conditions of state Highway Rt. 28 throughout most of Shandaken,” he wrote, adding that the state’s other highways in Shandaken, Rte. 214 and Rte. 212 are just as bad. “They need immediate attention, not just cosmetic repairs. They need reconstruction and capitol improvements.”
The poor conditions of the highways are causing problems that range from annoyance to danger and DiSclafani says he hears about it often.
“We receive complaints about these roads on a daily basis. Please give this matter serious consideration,” he wrote.
But on Friday DOT spokeswomen Sandra Jobson said there are no plans to do anything, at least for the next few years. Jobson was contacted Thursday and asked if DOT had any plans to fix the highway.
“I’ve looked into it; we have planned repaving projects (for that area) and we do not,” she said. “We do not have any major reconstruction plans out over the next five years and we do not have any resurfacing projects planned…we usually have those planned out over the next two years.”
Besides garden variety potholes, Route 28 in Shandaken is plagued with sections where coats of pavement, in some cases as large as a car, have stripped away leaving a two- or three-inch indentation. Striking such a patch at the speed limit can be a startling event.
Harry Jameson, the owner of Town Tinker Tube rental in Phoenicia, makes several trips a day on the road, driving busloads of his customers west to the upper currents of the Esopus. Jameson reports that the trip is a teeth-rattling experience for his customers and one that takes a toll on the busses. Being the highway that it is, there is little opportunity to swerve around the many bad spots in the pavement.
But according to Big Indian resident Gary Gailes, some drivers try.
Gailes complained about the road to the Shandaken Town Board earlier this month after witnessing a near collision as one driver swerved suddenly into the opposite lane to avoid a pothole as another vehicle was coming.
While no accident occurred, the event left Gailes with an uneasy feeling. He wondered how often such near misses occurred, or worse, didn’t.
“The state better get off its butt and do something…this is a health and safety issue,” Gailes said.