Clay Supervisor Damian Ulatowski isn’t sure what agency put up the signs saying that Route 31 will be closed from Soule Road to Route 57 all next weekend, but he spent most of the day Monday fielding calls about it.
“A portion of Route 31 between Soule Road and Route 57 will be closed this coming week between Saturday and Sunday where CSX rail crossing crosses Route 31,” Ulatowski said. “That does not mean that the entire route will be closed, just that section where the repair is taking place. Our residents and anyone else will have full access to Route 31 up to that interruption on both the Soule Road side and the 57 side.”
Ulatowski sought to assuage the fears of business owners who had called him, anxious that they would have to close their doors over Columbus Day weekend.
“All of those businesses will still have all of those residents available to them,” he said. “We will not be shutting those roads down.”
The only portion of the road that will actually be closed to traffic will be the stretch immediately surrounding the crossing near Moyers Corners.
“We’re going to be tearing out and replacing the surface and grade crossing, so we have to close the road to get that done as quickly as we can,” said Robert Sullivan, a media spokesman for CSX. “We worked with the highway department to determine the best time to do that, and this was it.”
Sullivan said businesses on either end of the tracks would still be accessible, but through traffic would have to use the detour created by the town of Clay (see schematic of the detour, above). Onondaga County sheriffs will be on hand to help direct traffic.
Ulatowski said he wasn’t sure who had put up the signs that appeared on routes 31 and 57 some time over the weekend that started the flurry of calls into his office and media outlets.
“That part of it was done by someone other than the town of Clay,” he said. “The town of Clay really got out in front of this. We put verbiage on our website, and we communicated it at our board meeting two weeks ago. But the signs, those first came to my attention this morning.”
Ulatowski said the signs are certainly misleading; they initially suggested that the stretch of Route 31 from Soule Road to Route 57 would be closed for the entire weekend.
“I contacted the engineer today, and they agreed that the signs were probably not the best worded, and they were going to try to change that,” Ulatowski said.
The area surrounding the tracks will be closed from 7 a.m. Saturday Oct. 8 until 9 p.m. Sunday Oct. 9. The detour map is also available on the town’s website, townofclay.org.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club’s Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.