Rt. 11 improvement advocates say map of I-98 shows extensive eminent domain would be required
Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - 11:49 am

YESeleven, an advocacy group favoring “evolutionary upgrades and improvements” along US Rt. 11 rather than the “Rooftop Highway” proposals, has unveiled a map showing the proposed route of the Interstate-98 development.

The maps posted on their web site, yesELEVEN.org, show the I-98 plan would cut a new right-of-way to the north and west of the current US 11 corridor.

“In order for people to fully realize what is at stake with the alternate proposal of building an entirely new, full interstate highway across the region, as a group of politicians, bureaucrats and party loyalists in Northern St. Lawrence County have been advocating, YESeleven retained the services of a geographer-route planner to make a good estimate of the possible route an interstate highway would take across the region,” said John Casserly, one of the spokespeople for yesELEVEN.

People may go to yeseleven.org and see how their communities might be affected by “such a massively transformational and we think, destructive undertaking that an interstate highway means in the region,” Cassserly said.

“The maps are based on a Google Map model that allows the viewer to zoom in and zoom out, navigate up and down the route, and look at highway maps or satellite images. Our guy did a terrific job on these maps and will continue to develop the route predictions all of the way to Plattsburgh in the coming weeks.”

John Danis, another spokesperson for the group, is encouraging people to “look at the interactive maps and read the highway portions of the transportation studies. If you are so inclined, sign the petition in support for our group’s position.

“We believe that a decision of this magnitude needs to be based on a comprehensive study and understanding of economics, science, engineering and business, rather than the marketing and promotional approach of the ‘Rooftop Highway’ proponents. For the many billions of dollars it would take to build an unnecessary interstate highway, we could replace most, or all of the failing bridges and highways across our region.

Casserly and Danis say they would like to see something like the “many small projects within one large plan” targeted approach to improving the road along the current Rt. 11 corridor as described in the 2002 and 2008 reports at links on their home page.

“The time for asking questions about these projects is before they are approved, not after,” said Danis.

“YESeleven’s view is that speaking in the abstract about building a full interstate highway for multiple billions of dollars, lulls people into a sense of complacency because of the seeming financial unlikelihood that such a project could ever ‘really happen.’

“This past weekend, we had a large image of the map available at the Sustainable Living Fair at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Canton. It was amazing how fast people came to understand the enormity of the impact that an interstate highway would have on their community and on the region as a whole. They could actually see a tangible route on a map, rather than an abstraction of a road that will be ‘built somewhere and go to someplace,’” Danis said.