June 16, 2011

Mission: Bring Order To Congested Intersection

By: by Eric Anderson, Business Editor, Times Union


ALBANY -- The realignment of Washington Avenue and Washington Avenue Extension is under way, with bulldozers leveling the space between I-90 and the existing road.

The congested intersection with Fuller Road will be replaced by a combined roundabout and overpass, according to plans.

While project descriptions called for work to begin this autumn, contractors have already been on-site for at least several weeks.

The $22 million project is expected to be completed by 2013, according to documents posted at the website of the Albany County Department of Public Works.

The project shifts the multi-lane highway north, where it will more closely parallel Interstate 90. That will open up space where the current highway is for future development.

That land is adjacent to the existing campus of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University at Albany. It has plans for the space, including a 450,000-square-foot building that would focus on energy and life sciences research. The building also would contain additional cleanroom space, said Albany Nanotech spokesman Steve Janack.

The expansion could add more than 1,000 jobs to the current CNSE workforce, which numbers 2,500 and includes researchers from dozens of semiconductor companies and organizations.

Already, $7 billion has been invested in the complex, including $1 billion in public funds.

CNSE doesn't yet have an estimate of what the expansion would cost. Design of the new building is still being finalized, Janack said Wednesday.

Efforts to reach county public works officials Wednesday weren't successful.