April 13, 2012

Major Construction Project Begins In Albany

By: Julie Tremmel

Source: Fox 23 News

If you avoid the Washington Avenue Extension, Fuller Road, I-90 intersection in Albany, you will be happy to hear there will soon be some welcome relief from all the extra traffic congestion.

On Thursday the SUNY Nanoscale Science and Engineering College held a large news conference in the middle of one of the state of the art new buildings on the compound.

The purpose of the gathering was to announce an $18 million dollar transportation improvement project that will drastically change the highly congested intersection.

The endeavor is a partnership between the Federal Government, State of New York Department of Transportation, the county, the city and Nanotech Foundation.

The general goal is to improve traffic flow so that people can come and go to the Nanotech Center and around the area much more easily.

"It's wonderful to see public groups come together connected to private groups as well. It's a great day for all of us," Senator Neil Breslin (D-Delmar) said.

All the key players from Nanotech and local, city, state and federal government were in place at the event.

The build-up was to finally get a glimpse at the computer generated images of what the Fuller Road, Washington Avenue Extension, I-90 intersection will eventually look like once the project is finished.

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald says the new intersection will incorporate a roundabout with a flyover bridge for through traffic on Washington Avenue.

McDonald said, "It's to improve traffic flow, so that people can come and go to the Nanotech Center much more easily, but in addition to that, because of the college community, university community around here, there are also going to be great improvements for bike paths, pedestrian paths and increased transit (bus) stops."

People who live and work near the intersection are happy to hear traffic relief is on the way.

Brendan Quinn of Clifton Park said, "Yes, it would be very welcome, because it's still congested there, and there's a park there and there, and there's no pedestrian or bike lanes or anything like that. So yeah, it would seem it would be a major improvement."

Ann Cataldo of Albany works in the area.

The young resident says she's tired of all the construction near the intersection.

She said, "Yes, it's been quite the ordeal. We've wondered if it's ever going to be finished."

Congressman Paul Tonko (D -Amsterdam) says 80 percent of the state dollars utilized for this project came from a federal source, and he's demanding more federally funded projects just like it.

"So it just tells you that it's a ripple effect. There's a soundness, a theme of economic recovery, environmental and energy agenda that's addressed by the federal move to reauthorize transportation funding."

Senator Breslin said, "It's been just such a traffic burden getting through here. People don't realize though, we have now almost 3000 workers in nanotechnology, and it's all right here, and it's probably number one in the world and it's going to continue to grow, and we need the infrastructure to support it."

McDonald said, "Governor Cuomo recognizes that high tech is becoming the backbone of our upstate economy, and this project facilitates the growth of the nanotech campus right here in the City of Albany, and Albany County."