OWEGO, NY - The family of New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) worker Dennis “Matt” Howe today joined State Senator Fred Akshar, DOT Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez, and other area officials at a ceremony to officially designate the “Dennis ‘Matt’ Howe Memorial Highway.”
Akshar and NYS Assembly Member Christopher Friend introduced and sponsored this year’s legislation (S4915/A7696, Chapter 158 of the Laws of 2019) authorizing the designation. Under the new law, a portion of the State Highway Route 17 in Owego will receive the designation.
Akshar sponsored the legislation to honor Howe’s memory, and pay tribute to his life and service. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed their legislation into law on August 9, 2019, five months after Howe’s death.
On March 18th of this year, Howe passed away from injuries sustained when a tractor-trailer collided with his DOT truck as he and his team were performing highway safety work on Route 17. Howe was 45 years old is survived by his wife, Alycia Haus; his children, Bre and Dalton; as well as his parents, grandparents and siblings.
The ceremony took place at DOT’s Owego facility. Senator Akshar and Commissioner Dominguez joined Howe’s family, friends, coworkers, state police, local officials and members of the community to dedicate the highway.
State Senator Fred Akshar (R,C,I, Endwell) said, “Matt Howe was a dedicated NYSDOT Region 9 worker and more importantly a beloved husband, father, son, friend and colleague. While nothing can undo this tragedy, today we come together as a community and ensure that Matt's memory and legacy remains a part of our community and serves as a reminder to all to take extra care on our roads and highways to prevent future tragedies from taking place.”
Assemblyman Christopher S. Friend (R,C,I, Big Flats) said, “It is unfortunate that tragic events are our strongest reminders of our responsibilities to one another. May this memorial help remind all drivers to carefully slow down and be vigilant of those maintaining and protecting our roads.
Commissioner Dominguez also dedicated a stone memorial in honor of Howe’s life.
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “Matt Howe worked hard, loved his job and gave his life helping to protect his NYSDOT coworkers. Today, we are commemorating his sacrifice by naming a section of Route 17 in his honor, but an even better tribute would be for all motorists to slow down in highway works zones, move over a lane for emergency and work vehicles on the side of the road, and avoid driving distracted. It’s the law. It saves lives.”
The “Dennis ‘Matt’ Howe Memorial Highway” will be located on Route 17 between from Exit 63 in the hamlet of Lounsberry and Exit 62 in the Village of Nichols.