The New York State Department of Transportation is celebrating a milestone in the lengthy Prospect Mountain Construction Project.

WNBF News/ Roger Neel Photo

The DOT says two lanes of traffic on the newly constructed section of Interstate 81 North and State Route 17 West between exit 3 and Chenango Street in Binghamton have recently opened.

The reconfiguration of what had long been known as Kamikaze Curve is scheduled to finally be done in December 2020.

This latest phase of the $152 million Prospect Mountain project began last December and is reconstructing nearly nine center lane miles of highway, replacing on and off ramps and bridges.  An important component also includes widening the roadway enough to allow for vehicles to safely pull over and emergency vehicles to get through.

The goal of the whole project is to straighten out the area where the major highways split to make the drive smoother, safer and less confusing.  In the end, State Route 17 in Binghamton should meet the criteria to become designated Interstate 86.  Other portions of the Southern Tier Expressway have already met the necessary upgrades to make interstate highway status.

Major construction work for the season has wrapped up but minor work is continuing through the winter, weather permitting.