Utica approves 14-foot-wide Cass Avenue connection between M-59 and Auburn Road

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published August 25, 2021

 The Utica City Council has voted for a $255,000 road resurfacing project.

The Utica City Council has voted for a $255,000 road resurfacing project.

Photo provided by Gus Calandrino

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UTICA — The Utica City Council approved a road project during its Aug. 10 meeting that includes resurfacing of Cass Avenue at a width of 14 feet between M-59 and Auburn Road.

By a 5-1 vote, the Utica City Council voted to accept a bid to resurface the intersection of Cass Avenue and Auburn Road in downtown Utica. Cass connects Auburn Road and M-59.

During the vote, Utica City Councilman Brad O’Donnell cited the project as “dangerous and expensive.”

He cast the lone dissenting vote on the $255,000 road resurfacing project.

“Having a Hall Road, highway-sized road lane in a downtown area is a ticking time bomb. This road size is not safe for the children who play there,” he said via email.

He said wider lanes mean faster speeds.

“This makes our downtown less walkable, but it also costs more. A larger road size means more repairs, more snow plowing, and a higher replacement cost,” said O’Donnell.

According to O’Donnell, the Utica City Council was provided with the schematic for the resurfacing project less than three hours prior to the meeting.

Utica Mayor Gus Calandrino said the reason that the current Utica City Council is effective is that there is a wide array of backgrounds, ideas and viewpoints.

“Councilman O’Donnell has many interesting ideas on roads and infrastructure, and his input is valuable and welcome. In this case, our engineering consultant and the rest of City Council agreed that a 14-foot-wide connecting road between M-59 and Auburn Road was necessary. Parallel parking is included on the west side of the road, and the necessary width was required to allow people to safely enter and exit their cars in the path of oncoming traffic,” he said in an email.

He said this section of road must also be of sufficient width to accommodate public safety vehicles.

“The idea of narrowing roads and reducing speeds is a trending philosophy and has a lot of merit in many applications. For the Cass and Auburn reconstruction, council wisely followed the advice of our engineers and opted for a standard 14-foot-wide road,” he said.

Work is expected to begin soon and be complete in November.

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