For Cindy Torres-Bender living along a state highway is a tragedy waiting to happen.
“The traffic is constant,” Torres-Bender said. “People never do the speed limit.”
In November of 2018, Torres-Bender moved into her home on Route 300. She recalls on the days that she went to view the house and consider the possibility of purchasing it, the roads that day were very quiet.
On the move in and closing day, Torres-Bender recalls that she was late on that day since there was an accident on the road.
On Monday, Sept. 13, Torres-Bender came forward to the Town of Newburgh Board addressing the concerns of living on that road. Further concerns were raised about the intersection of 300 where Forest and Rock Cut Road meet.
The last accident reported on that road, according to Torres-Bender, was Aug. 5.
According to Torres-Bender, she requested a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request requesting the number of accidents that have happened between the intersection of Rock Cut and Forest Road and 300 and 300 and Kings Drive. According to the FOIL, in the last three years there have been 10 accidents at the corner of 300 and Kings Drive. Another six between 300 and Vincent Lane. Another 24 occurred at the actual intersection.
During the board meeting, Torres-Bender noted the speed limit is listed for the road as 55 miles per hour, yet drivers do not adhere to it. The brush line that runs along the road makes viewing traffic difficult when trying to leave her driveway.
Torres-Bender has also reached out to state highway department officials to address the issue itself and to assist with the repair of the ditch in front of her property to prevent flooding onto her driveway.
Every time she reached out she was met with resistance and was told that it is the responsibility of the property owner to address and fix the issue.
According to Torres-Bender, this situation was resolved with the help of Senator James Skoufis.
Torres-Bender also brought forth a document to the town board containing 24 signatures from residents who are also concerned about the road. Torres-Bender says that she is still collecting more from other neighbors and residents.
As a parent, she is afraid every time her 19 year old daughter pulls out of the driveway.
“Even as an experienced driver, that road makes me nervous,” Torres-Bender said.
Torres-Bender also noted that one of her neighbors witnessed a tractor trailer blow through a red light, driving well over the 55 speed limit. The truck driver blew his horn and kept on driving. Luckily, no car was crossing that intersection during that time.
Councilman Scott Manley, a former Town of Newburgh Police Officer, is aware of the situation with the board and has raised his concerns with the state. He notes that several years ago the bridge was replaced in the Town of Plattekill, which led to the limit being reduced to 45 miles per hour. Once the bridge was completed, the state brought the limit back, even though the town had asked it to stay that limit permanently.
In recent years, according to Manley, the state created grooves in the center of the road where the lines run, so drivers are aware that they are crossing lanes.
Torres-Bender urges drivers to be cautious, vigilant and adhere to the limits to prevent any further accidents and to keep the community as a whole safe.