October 5, 2012

Editorial: Paving the way for contentment


---- — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has succeeded in some areas crucial to us all. For example, he seems to have a knack for getting a budget passed on time, which his predecessors in the past 20 or 30 years have found elusive. In this and other matters, he seems to have been able to melt the political gridlock in Albany, an impossibility in previous administrations.

At the same time, he also seems to be able to identify and correct smaller irregularities that may not have the moment of the state budget but are unspeakable aggravations for certain people.

A recent example of this is his order to the State Department of Transportation to arrange work schedules on highways and bridges so drivers confront as little inconvenience as possible.

The Thaddeus Kosciusko Bridge just north of Exit 7 on the Northway brought this to mind. We, in the North Country, are familiar with that bridge, even though it’s almost 150 miles south of Plattsburgh. Known as the Twin Bridges, it crosses the Mohawk north of the Capital District.

Unfortunately, the bridge has been the site of a number of accidents that always result in long traffic tie-ups in that section of highway, which is normally congested at its best. During rush hour, mornings and mid-to-late afternoons, the traffic is truly bumper to bumper.

The bridge is now undergoing repair, which we all know will only multiply the congestion and further irritate already irritable motorists.

According to a news release from the Governor’s Office, Cuomo has directed DOT to adjust the construction schedule on the Twin Bridges repair project “to reduce disruption and delays for drivers in the Capital Region and motorists traveling to and from the North Country.”

The contractor had closed all but one lane of traffic in each direction over the weekend, when, it was thought, volume would be lighter because of the work week being concluded. But the governor was thinking of the large number of vehicles heading out of the Tri-Cities, and back in, over Friday, Saturday and Sunday. He told DOT to be sure the bridge is open by noon Sunday instead of early Monday.

In explaining the order, Cuomo cited the necessity of having “government adjust to people,” rather than the other way around.

This is the kind of thinking destined to turn constituents into admirers. Construction on the Twin Bridges has caused traffic backups for miles on that busy, three-lane section of the Northway. Surely, the order for corrective action will be welcome news indeed.

Cuomo has also ordered DOT to institute similar measures in all future highway contracts to keep traffic interruptions to a minimum.

Good news for drivers and passengers. It’s not the kind of issue that will make a difference in the fiscal soundness of the state, but it’s bound to bring smiles to otherwise cranky motorists.