Petitioners Succeed in Speed Limit Change on Route 208
By Edie Johnson
Blooming Grove – A string of makeshift memorials along the stretch of Route 208 from Round Hill Road to just before the “On-Off” entrance and exit ramps onto Route 17 in Monroe are a reminder of how dangerous this stretch can be. Especially during inclement weather, commuter times and travel seasons drivers traveling at the current 55 mph speed limit can come around a sharp curve and quickly run into a line of bumper to bumper traffic.
At this week’s Blooming Grove Town Board Meeting, Supervisor Rob Jeroloman said that after years of South Blooming Grove and other residents collecting signatures to have the speed limit dropped from 55 mph to 45 mph, the Department of Transportation has agreed. There is not date yet when the new signs will be up. The new speed limit will extend from Round Hill Road to a few hundred feet before the Route 17 ramps.
With population in the area increasing in recent years and both Monroe-Woodbury and Washingtonville school district buses traveling this busy route, with dozens of side roads and one stoplight, the change is expected to lessen accidents and even prevent loss of life. Jeroloman said there have been no less than 25 accidents along the stretch in recent years. Guy Jones, the owner of Blooming Hill Farm which does a brisk tourist trade said he has witnessed accidents with cattle, horses, and even some of his employees.
The Village of Washingtonville recently lowered the speed limit to 40 mph along the stretch of Route 208 as it approaches the Village, and then to 25 as it enters the village proper.
In Other Business
After years of complaints that the water in the Blooming Grove Town Hall smelled like the rotten egg odor of sulphur and was not drinkable, additional tests were done showing that the issue was due to a very high level of excess salt, at least some of which was probably from run-off of winter road and parking lot treatment that filtered into the shale level of the well. When the excess salt reached the town hall building and eventually the hot water tank, the corrosion process resulted in a strong sulphur smell and undrinkable water.
The salt levels were in fact so high that they were in violation of health department standards which require potable water to be provided in every public building. The problem therefore needed to be addressed immediately. Supervisor Jeroloman said that in comparing their options they determined it would be less expensive to dig a well to a new level (250 ft. which is below the shale level where the salt was infiltrating) than to try to correct the chemical imbalance and be unsure of the results. The well now accesses a new level of aquifer beneath the bedrock. It remained a high priority to quickly stop the ongoing corrosion damage to the building’s infrastructure lines and equipment.
The new well and pump will have a gel casing, making it easier to remove if necessary, and the Town Hall will finally have healthy and potable water to drink.