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Drivers pointed toward bypass to avoid Canton construction congestion

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CANTON — Just passing through Canton? Don’t wait; take the bypass.

That was the message this week from Canton police, who warned that congestion already is accompanying work on a $9.55 million Route 11 reconstruction project through the heart of village, which resumed for the season on Monday.

Police and state Department of Transportation officials said motorists who intend to pass through the village on Route 11 without stopping downtown should use the posted detour, which diverts through-traffic along Riverside Drive, State Street and Route 310 to reduce traffic tie-ups on Main Street, as Route 11 is named in Canton.

But some motorists seemingly would rather avoid the detour and wait in line on Main Street, interim Canton Police Chief Victor N. Rycroft said — and that only adds to delays, he said, especially for local traffic.

“It has an overall rippling effect of backing traffic up on side streets and they become blocked, especially at intersections controlled by traffic signals,” Mr. Rycroft said.

“I’m just trying to get people accustomed early,” Mr. Rycroft said of the detour, which is expected to last until the project’s scheduled completion date, Nov. 30.

This is the second and final year of work to rebuild the road and underground utilities along a one-mile stretch from Riverside Drive to Stiles Avenue. Last year concentrated on the village’s commercial center, from Riverside Drive to Park Place, where new sidewalks and streetlights were installed once the digging was done.

This year’s work zone is from Park Place to Stiles Avenue, a more residential area, but still along the community’s principal traffic artery.

DOT also has plans in place to communicate the detour to drivers.

Thomas A. Maroun Jr., DOT project engineer, said conventional and electronic signs will be supplemented by temporary pavement markings to help guide drivers. Such markings were used last season, but faded over the winter. Mr. Maroun said crews were waiting for slightly drier conditions before repainting the indicators.

While the bypass will help speed motorists past the back-ups, Mr. Rycroft pointed out that drivers still must obey posted speed limits. The detour passes Canton Central School on State Street, where drivers are restricted to 20 mph during school hours, he noted.

Police also are asking that all oversize vehicles use the bypass route. Large trucks are prohibited on side streets unless making local deliveries, Mr. Rycroft said.

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