Getting around Ithaca: road closures and detours

Welcome, or welcome back, to Ithaca! We’ve closed some of the area’s major roads just to make things entertaining. It’s Cornell opening weekend, with thousands of new and returning students and their families pouring into town.

Especially with several detours and extra-heavy traffic, and many drivers who aren’t familiar with our roads, please be especially patient and cautious as you drive around Ithaca. Use your turn signals well in advance. Expect drivers to slow or stop suddenly as they look for their destinations. And, yes, don’t be too surprised if someone turns the wrong way down a one-way street. If you’re new in town: please be aware we have one-way streets. Look for the telltale “One Way – Do Not Enter” signs.

The good news is that the Stewart Avenue Bridge, closed for a three-month project, is open for this weekend and next (Cornell’s presidential inauguration weekend). It’s a vital link between the major routes in and out of town and lower Collegetown, or west campus. The 200 block of Dryden Road in Collegetown has reopened, as well, though ongoing construction activity is blocking a lane from time to time.

For Friday, roads on Cornell’s north campus will be a slow crawl of vehicles dropping off students and their stuff to move into the residence halls. We suggest avoiding Thurston, Wait, Jessup, Sisson, Triphammer, and Pleasant Grove if you can.

A project on Hoy Road near Cornell’s parking garage and the Statler Hotel, wasn’t finished earlier this month due to weather delays, but it should be finished this week.

Forest Home Drive alongside the Fall Creek gorge between the Thurston Avenue bridge and Martha Van Rensselaer Hall remains closed indefinitely.

Mitchell Street on east hill, between Collegetown and East Hill Plaza, is reduced to one lane adjacent to the construction site for Cornell’s Maplewood graduate housing complex. A traffic light at each end is allowing one direction to proceed at a time.

Game Farm Road, east of East Hill Plaza, is closed for a bridge repair project, for about four months. It should reopen in November. Judd Falls Road and Turkey Hill Road are good detour options. Cornell’s athletic fields on Game Farm Road can be reached from Ellis Hollow Road.

Those traversing Ithaca’s south hill will find there’s still a detour on Hudson Street, which was supposed to reopen almost two months ago. It should be open by next weekend.

In Downtown Ithaca, City crews are closing off the right lane of the 100 block of North Cayuga Street, in front of the Clinton House and Bandwagon Brewpub, during the day for sidewalk and lighting work, and opening the lane each night. The sidewalk on the west side of that block remains passable, but without enough space for wheelchairs.

West of the Commons, the City of Ithaca has closed the 100 block of both North Albany Street and South Albany Street to replace an 1891 vintage cast iron water main. They estimate the street will reopen about September 1st.

West Seneca Street near Shortstop Deli has signage saying it is reduced to one lane, but so far we’ve only seen a blockage in the middle, between the two lanes of traffic. Drivers should have room to get around the obstruction using the parking spaces or shoulders on each side.

Farther north, East Lincoln Street is closed in Fall Creek from Cayuga Street to Lake Street for a three-month rebuild project that includes stripping and repaving the road, and building upgraded sidewalks at the corners, with handicap accessible curb cuts.

Want to leave the driving to someone else? Use the Ride14850 app for iPhone to navigate the TCAT bus system, call a cab, or take advantage of the fact that Lyft and Uber are now in Ithaca. Allow plenty of extra time to get around no matter how you’re traveling.

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