2020 Utica Road Enthusiast Meet
July 18, 2020

The 2020 Utica Road Enthusiast Meet was the third such meet to be held in the Mohawk Valley with previous meets having been held on October 13, 2001 and May 2, 2015. The idea for the 2020 meet was originally conceived in October 2019 to focus on the reconstruction of NY 5S in downtown Utica and to check out some abandoned bridges along the Erie Canal in central and western Oneida County which had not been included in the previous two meets.

During the following winter, a poll took place to determine an ideal date and, on February 14, 2020, the meet was scheduled to take place on May 9. A month later, nCoViD-19 (Coronavirus) was declared a global pandemic and government officials began closing schools, canceling events, shutting down non-essential businesses, and restricting domestic and international travel. Initially, the May 9 meet date was not impacted as I wanted to see if there was any improvement in the developing health situation. By mid-April, it was determined that the restrictions would not be lifted in time to hold the meet as originally scheduled and the meet was postponed. And it probably wasn't a bad thing as the Mohawk Valley experienced unseasonably cold temperatures that weekend. So cold, in fact, that snow was seen falling in the area the original day of the meet...an unusual occurrence for the middle of May.

By mid-May, data suggested that New York state was beginning to get the Coronavirus under control and Governor Andrew Cuomo began a four phase reopening process designed to gradually get business and life back to normal, or as close as we can come to it. With upstate New York projected to reach Phase IV by the end of June, I began looking at potential new dates for the meet, narrowing it down to three dates in July. In early June, the new date of July 18 was set and the wheels were put back in motion.

With the lunch location having been changed (The original restaurant had yet to reopen) and efforts to socially distance put into place, the third Utica Road Enthusiast Meet was able to be held a little over two months after its originally scheduled date. As for the weather, it was a far cry from May 9 with sunny skies and temperatures up near 90 degrees.

Enjoy this recap and highlights of this meet.

The Attendees

Pictured (L to R): Valerie Deane, A.J. Bertin, Jim Hill, Brandon Gorte, Chris Jordan, Mark Moore, Bob Malme, Adam Moss, Doug Kerr, Mike Tantillo, Josh Schmid, Mark Sinsabaugh, Laura Bianca-Pruett (with daughter Rainee), and Michael Pruett. Not pictured: C. Patrick Zilliacus

The Tour Route

Start * Stop 1 * On The Way... * Stop 2 * Stop 3 * Stop 4 * Stop 5 * Stop 6 * On The Way... * Finish

Start: Bring Your Own Lunch to Proctor Park

Social distancing during lunch. Adam's 1934 Texaco New York map. Youngest road meet attendee ever.

Stop 1: Oriskany St. Reconstruction Project in Downtown Utica

Construction to improve traffic flow on Oriskany St. (NY 5S) began in early 2018 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2020. Since 1969, Oriskany St., coupled with Liberty St., carried four lanes of traffic between Cornelia and Seneca Streets, and six lanes between Seneca and Broad Streets with Jay St. serving as an eastbound service road between Genesee and 2nd Streets. Movements were also limited at the Genesee and John St. intersections. When completed, this entire section will be four lanes. However, all movements will be allowed at the aforementioned intersections with construction of a roundabout at the John St. intersection. Modifications will also be made at the Broad St.-John St. intersection with the elimination of right turn slip ramps. A ramp feeding from N. Genesee St. to John St. was permanently closed in October 2015 and has been used as a staging area for the reconstruction project. When completed, the ramp will be removed and replaced with green space. Other intersections are being converted to right in/right out. Modifications for bicyclists and pedestrians are also being made.

Updated Photos (Taken November 14, 2021)

Eastbound at Washington St.

Westbound approaching Washington St.

NY 5S gets promoted?

Eastbound at Genesee St.

Westbound approaching Genesee St.

The recently restored Old Glory sculpture.

Eastbound approaching John St.
Westbound approaching John St.
A bunch of troublemakers running around Utica.

On The Way to Rome...

Ongoing overhead sign replacement project on
I-790 and NY 8/NY 12.

New overhead signs for said project staged in Deerfield.

Old overhead and new ground mounted signs on Trenton Rd.

Edic Rd. where safety improvements will soon be made to conincide with a new chip fab plant being built nearby.

The plaza where the first Utica meet was held in 2001. The restaurant is now across the street.

NY 825, which was widened north of Ellsworth Rd. since the 2015 Utica meet.
New roundabout on NY 825 at Floyd Ave which replaced a signalized intersection.
New roundabout on NY 825 at Hangar Rd.

Stop 2: Railroad Ave./Mohawk Adirondack Northern Bridge in Rome

Looking east toward the shared bridge.

I never knew there had been a bridge company based out of Elmira.

Stop 3: Stoney Creek Rd. Bridge in Verona

Nothing really exciting here. This bridge was built in 1911 and closed to traffic in 2010. It is blocked by two sets of barricades including a steel beam welded to the guide rails on either side.

Stop 4: Lock Rd. Bridge and Erie Canal Lock 21 in Vienna

The Lock Rd. bridge, located just west of Erie Canal Lock 21. The bridge was last rehabilitated in the 1950s. It is not known when the bridge was closed to traffic.

Southbound approach to the bridge.

Looking west at Lock 21.

Inside the lock, looking east.

The lock doors closing after a small eastbound boat entered the lock.

Stop 5: Cove Rd. Bridge near Sylvan Beach

The pavement does end...kinda.

The Cove Rd. bridge has been closed to traffic since the mid 2010s.

The Southern Tier must've been a hotbed for bridge manufacturing back in the early 20th century. When the NYSDOT sign shop is out of 12'6" signs, just grab a Sharpie.

Stop 6: Oneida St. Bridge in Durhamville

The barricade on the southern approach of the Oneida St. bridge in the hamlet of Durhamville.

Lane striping is still visible approaching the bridge. It is not known when the bridge was closed.

The east side of the bridge.

The west side of the bridge.

A wider view of the bridge, looking south. The bridge spans Oneida Creek which also doubles as the Madison-Oneida County line.

On The Way Back to Utica...

Southbound on NY 13 approaching the roundabout at NY 31 which was built in 2018.

Churton Rd. (Oneida CR 94) which was the southernmost section of the former NY 234 designation which was decommissioned in 1980.

The eastern end of NY 31 in Vernon Center, a major east-west route in western New York. NY 31's western terminus is 208 miles away in a residential section of Niagara Falls.

Finish: NY 5/NY 8/NY 12 at Court St. Interchange in Utica

The final stop was the 3/4-SPUI where Court St. meets NY 5/NY 8/NY 12 in Utica. During the 2015 meet, this interchange was under construction as part of the North-South Arterial reconstruction project.