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Local leaders protest Exit 114’s proposed closure

WURTSBORO — Residents and business owners are expressing concerns about the proposed closure of Exit 114 on State Route 17 West.


This closure is part of the planned Route 17 expansion project, which aims to enhance a 30-mile stretch of New York State Route 17 from Exit 113 in Wurtsboro, Sullivan County, to Interstate 87 in Woodbury, Orange County.


The project is designed to improve operational efficiency and safety, ease congestion, and make sure the corridor complies with Interstate standards.


On Wednesday, June 12th, at Veterans Park, State Senator Peter Oberacker of the 51st district joined local officials, business owners, and residents at a rally in the village of Wurtsboro to oppose the closure of Exit 114.


“Changes to traffic flow along State Route 17 will have a ripple effect on our local businesses and residents,” said Senator Oberacker. “Exit 114 is crucial to the local economy in Wurtsboro and closing this key access point would be extremely detrimental. Sullivan County has several hidden gems and I want to ensure travelers can experience them all. We will be making a strong case to the New York State Department of Transportation to save exit 114.”


Kelly DeGuzman, Vice President for the Wurtsboro Board of Trade said, “Cutting off traffic flow coming from Exit 114 off of Route 17 would mean that we just get bypassed and we’re afraid  that  the small business owners would be hurt by that.”


Senator Oberacker also commented on the possible increase in emergency response times for first responder services, “Temporarily closing exit 114 may seem like a convenient choice, but we have to take local emergency services and the safety of our residents into account,” said Senator Oberacker. “Ambulances, fire trucks, and police vehicles rely on these exits to quickly and efficiently respond. In emergency situations, seconds can save a life.”


Nick Solomon, the Sullivan County Legislator for District 4, said if the plans proceed, the village of Wurtsboro could potentially turn into a deserted village.


“Half the people are not going to make a right to go down Sullivan Street. They won’t even know there’s Sullivan Street. They’ll keep going toward Ellenville, and it’ll hurt our business.”

Village of Wurtsboro Mayor Frank Sisco fears that closing the exit could cause the historic village to fade away, similar to what happened in Parksville, Liberty. When the New York State Route 17 was diverted off its main street there, businesses experienced a sharp decline, according to Sisco.


“A lot of history here going back into the 1700s. It’s going to go away. If they bypass us, it’s going to go away and that’s what we’re fighting for, to keep it.”


The state department of transportation will be holding public hearings in the near future. and we’ll be providing an environmental impact statement to the federal highway administration.


U.S. Representative Marc Molinaro (NY-19) said, “Closing Exit 114 is a disaster waiting to happen. It could affect response times for emergency vehicles, hinder the success of small businesses, and inconvenience local residents.”

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