UPDATE: Hope On The Horizon for the Hudson Valley’s Most Obnoxious Interchange
Could it be, are there really changes coming to the Route 9 interchange and the Route 44/55 arterials in Poughkeepsie? It sure looks like it.
An announcement from the Dutchess County Transportation Council indicated that the detailed study of the Route 9 and 44/55 interchange is officially complete. Funded by the Federal Highway and Transit Administration through the Dutchess County Transportation Council's planning program, the goal of the study was to learn how to redesign this particular area to make it 'safer, more reliable, and better integrated with nearby neighborhoods.'
Back in March, a report shared by Dutchess County closed by sharing that 'the conclusion of this study is only the start of what will be an ongoing process to make these recommendations reality.' Now, we've learned a little about what those recommendations are, though no construction schedule or funding has been identified by the New York State Department of Transportation, who would end up sponsoring the project.
Recommendations for the Route 9 Interchange:
The study recommends replacing the existing 'bow-tie' configuration with roundabouts which will both increase the length of on and off ramps (the source of many fender benders), and also rid the area of the awkward left-side merging. Concept A below shows an image of what this configuration might look like.
Recommendations for the 44/55 Arterials
The second part of the study addressed the Route 44/55 arterials in the City and Town of Poughkeepsie, and the report recommends a pilot project that would test a redesign to reduce each arterial from three lanes to two lanes of one way traffic.
Poughkeepsie's 9/44/55 Interchange, A Historical (and analytical) Look
This particular area of route 9 has likely been a headache for many of us at some point in our Hudson Valley travels. Whether you're trying to get on/off the Mid-Hudson Bridge, make your way to Church Street or the arterial, or even head in a different direction on 9, approaching this unconventional configuration of left side on and off ramps, yields, and traffic merging from different directions can cause a lot of anxiety.
I travel this area daily, and I feel like I've experienced it all; cars flying off the ramp and not yielding at all, or even worse, those drivers that inch off the ramp and come to a dead stop in the left lane while people are trying to move over. The words that come out of my mouth while driving in this particular area are not safe for radio, nor this article.
Moral of the story, this exchange is a nightmare and has been the site of a number of accidents, vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle, over the years.
Research and Trends
A pretty extensive study assessing this interchange, the Poughkeepsie 9.44.55, has been going on for quite a few years. Their purpose is to rethink the Route 44/55 arterials and Route 9/44/55 interchange at the Mid-Hudson Bridge.
We’re looking at how these highway facilities, central to our region’s ability to function, might be redesigned to improve safety and simplify travel, and be better woven into the fabric of Poughkeepsie. And we’re not only examining ways to make travel safer and more reliable for drivers, particularly at the interchange, but for those who walk, bike, or ride transit, especially on the arterials.
The March 2022 Executive Summary shares some additional information about current studies, and the goals which include creating better traffic operations in this area.
Poughkeepsie 9.44.55 seeks to address this knowledge gap, providing the necessary analysis of crash and traffic data, travel flows, and multi-modal connectivity to inform actionable design concepts. These concepts balance regional and local travel needs, and address state, county, and local priorities.
Additional details about the design concepts and analysis can be found on pages ES-6 through ES-8 of the report here.