I-98 is not needed, Route 11 works
Tuesday, May 8, 2012 - 1:51 pm

To the Editor:

Traveling on US Route 11 through Canton involves a total of a single turn. Even at the height of travel through the village on weekday mornings and late afternoon, the village is still easily traversed in well under 10 minutes.

Most of the day, traffic through downtown Canton is more than reasonable. And if we include the intersection North of the traditional village area out where the shopping centers are, there are a total of 4 traffic lights on Route 11 through Canton. An amount that is hardly unreasonable and something that can be easily equaled or topped on US highways through thousands of communities of similar size throughout the nation.

And the relevant statistics are easy to locate. Route 11 is neither unsafe nor even anywhere close to capacity. The major issues are maintenance of the infrastructure we already have and a handful of bottlenecks during certain hours of the day through villages that might call for bypasses (including the Canton area). Hardly reasons to leap into converting Route 11 into a 4 lane expressway, creating a new interstate in the North Country, or both like a few individuals that think tax money is unlimited would lead you to believe is needed.

As for statements by YesEleven, anyone that has been paying even the slightest attention to this discussion knows there isn’t a set path for this proposal by some local citizens and a few communities in the area. As far as the government is concerned, Interstate 98 doesn’t even exist on paper. YesEleven is quite clear that their proposal is what their experts feel is the likely route were it to be constructed and have been open about that since the beginning.

My opinion is quite clear on the matter to anyone reading this. Cutting a swath of destruction through the rural North Country for a pipe dream that isn’t needed is foolish. Wanting this when the traffic doesn’t come anywhere close to warranting it, fictionalizing benefits that would come along with it (Like all the local contractors that would be winning bids to help construct it), and so on sounds exactly like the same type of arguments the urban renewal proponents were routinely putting forth a few decades ago.

My advice to both sides is exaggeration isn’t the way to go about accomplishing what you think needs to be done. And whatever decisions are made need to be looked at carefully and with input from experts and the communities involved. Let’s not be looking back on this time with regret a few decades from now as we’re realizing what we lost to construct something that was never needed.

Leo Ames, Potsdam