Cohoes, DOT officials discuss changes to I-787 after teen dies trying to cross road

COHOES, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Officials with the New York State Department of Transportation met with the city of Cohoes to figure out how to make one area safer.

Two weeks after 16-year-old Brittany Knight was struck and killed on I-787, crossing signals at the intersection where she was killed have been upgraded. Now, when a cross button is pushed, all lights in all directions turn red.

The city also has plans to make the change to all crosswalks in the future. Plans are also in the works for an overhaul of that entire section of 787.

“If I have to spend every day of the next four years working on 787 making sure no one gets killed, I will,” Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse said.

Morse and other city and state leaders laid out a plan to make that stretch of 787 safer by transforming it from a freeway to a true boulevard.

“Narrower lanes, curbs, medians, tree lines that will have a calming effect on traffic,” Sam Zhou with the NYS DOT explained.

The project is estimated to cost between $12 million and $15 million. It’s based on plans made in 2004 when a young man was hit by a car. Those plans never came to fruition, but Morse said they will this time.

“We can’t accept any excuses of not finding the $12 to $15 million that we need to get this project done,” he said.

In the meantime, officials demonstrated an upgraded crosswalk and a safety campaign for drivers and students.

“The questions are always going back to be: ‘It’s not enough’ and ‘We conquer is not enough,’” Morse said. “But every great project starts somewhere.”

But for some, a nagging remains: If those plans developed years ago were put into motion, could Knight’s life have been saved?

It’s still unclear how the funding will be obtained or what the timeline of the project will be.

Beginning Monday, police will be aggressively pulling people over for speeding on Cohoes Boulevard. Even if a driver is only going a few miles over the speed limit, they likely won’t get a ticket, but information about safety.

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