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New traffic signals to be installed next week in Canton; first phase of Main Street project almost finished

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CANTON - Installation of new traffic signals at two intersections in downtown Canton is scheduled to start Monday, a process that’s expected to take two weeks as part of the state Department of Transportation’s U.S. Route 11 reconstruction project.

Crews are on target to finish the first phase by Dec. 21 and will return in the spring for the remaining work.

Thomas A. Maroun Jr., the DOT’s project’s engineer, said four new signals with underground wires and mast arms will be installed at each location, one at the corner of Riverside Drive and the other at the intersection of Park Street.

“It requires two weeks to get them installed, properly working and inspected,” Mr. Maroun said.

The traffic signals will be equipped with pre-emption detection systems that will allow the Canton Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad to activate the red stop signals when they are responding to an emergency and want to stop traffic.

The 30 new vintage light poles should be operating by the end of next week after the system is inspected, and National Grid powers up the electricity.

The subcontractor that installed the lights, Stilsing Electric, Syracuse, is scheduled to be in Canton Monday to install two new meter cabinets, one on Hodskin Street and the other on East Main Street near the St. Lawrence County Silas Wright House and Historical Association.

About two-thirds of the 1.1 mile project has been completed, with the remaining portion scheduled to begin next spring. The brick paving work for this season finished Thursday.

“The job went better than expected,” Village Superintendent Brien E. Hallahan said.

Some concerns have been relayed about vehicles or snow plows running into the pedestrian bump outs which were installed to improve pedestrian safety at crosswalks.

“They (the bump outs) stand out more because it’s a new project and they’re at full height,” Mr. Maroun said, noting that drivers and snowplow operators should become accustomed to working around them.

When crews finish up for the season in about three weeks, the detours will be removed for the rest of the winter and be reinstalled when the work resumes. The traffic light at Riverside Drive will be taken down for the winter.

Next year’s work will include milling and paving a small portion of Gouverneur Street and the stretch of Route 11 from the Main Street bridge to Riverside Drive.

The bulk of next year’s work will be the stretch of Main Street from Park Place to Stiles Avenue and includes replacing underground water and sewer lines, new sidewalks and curbing. Also, Jay Street will be converted into a cul-de-sac.

Main Street will be completely closed to traffic for three to six weeks while CSX Railroad upgrades its crossing on East Main Street.

Mr. Maroun said he was also pleased with the amount of work that’s been completed since May 18 when the job started. Depending on the weather, the next phase will likely begin in March or April.

“I think it went as well as could be expected. We got a lot done in a relatively short period of time,” Mr. Maroun said.

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