January 23, 2022

Varna projects on agenda

Town of Dryden to hold hearing, info sessions in June

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

A motorist drives a vehicle with an attached trailer west Friday along Route 366 in Varna, near Freese Road. On the other side of the road, a school bus driver is opening the door of the parked bus. The town of Dryden plans to add sidewalks to both sides of the street.

DRYDEN — Construction projects near Route 366 in Dryden will be the topic of a public information session and a public hearing at the end of the month.

The town board is inviting residents to comment at 6 p.m. June 29 on a potential sidewalk project in the hamlet of Varna. This public hearing is necessary before the board can apply, by July 16, for a Community Development Block Grant, for the $625,000 project, which would add 2,420 feet of sidewalk on the north side of the road from Forest Home Drive to Freese Road.

As part of the state Department of Transportation’s upgrades and repaving of Route 366 from the Ithaca line to the intersection of Route 13, a sidewalk will be included on the south side of the road between Forest Home Drive and Mount Pleasant Road.

Town board member James Skaley, a Varna resident, said the sidewalk project would provide for a walkable community within the hamlet, but would not meet the need for the bike lanes as described in the Varna Community Development Plan.

To create bike lanes, state regulations require sidewalks on both sides of the road. However, the project does not have sufficient funding to build a sidewalk on the north side of the road.

For the public hearing on June 29, residents are invited to discuss the grant application to receive funding for a second sidewalk along Route 366, between Forest Home Drive and Freese Road.

Despite there being a number of proposed construction projects in the area which in addition to the sidewalks includes rehabilitating or moving the Freese Road Bridge, paving the road between Ithaca and Route 366 and installing a pedestrian bridge at Route 13 along the Dryden Rail Trail — Skaley said he doesn’t expect many residents to oppose the sidewalk project.

“Getting more good sidewalks in the community will help,” Skaley said. “People want these sidewalks and it’ll help with our fast-moving traffic.”

The town will host a public information session at 5 p.m. June 30 regarding another pedestrian project — a walking bridge that will go over Route 13 just west of the split with Route 366.

The board voted unanimously to approve the $1.5 million bridge project in December 2019, which was originally expected to be completed by the end of this year, before the pandemic struck and caused delays.

Dryden Deputy Town Supervisor Dan Lamb said the public information session will provide residents the opportunity to ask questions and get answers immediately, rather than hosting a public hearing, which is comment only.