ALBANY, NY (04/12/2012)(readMedia)-- New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Commissioner Joan McDonald today announced the department has begun improvements to the intersection of Washington Avenue Extension and Fuller Road, an $18 million project to clear up traffic congestion and help accommodate rapid growth at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany. The project is the result of a partnership between NYSDOT, Albany County and the Fuller Road Management Corporation (FRMC).
"We formed this partnership with Albany NanoCollege and Albany County to improve our transportation infrastructure for motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users, while creating jobs and promoting growth in the Capital Region," Commissioner McDonald said. "The project will drastically reduce congestion delays at this location and repair a deteriorating stretch of road for local motorists."
CNSE Senior Vice President and CEO Dr. Alain Kaloyeros said, "This important initiative further demonstrates Governor Andrew Cuomo's leadership and commitment to driving economic prosperity by continuing to build a world-class nanotechnology industry in New York State. This project will enable critical infrastructure improvements to support expansion of the UAlbany NanoCollege, while at the same time providing a long-term traffic solution that eases congestion and heightens safety for motorists and pedestrians throughout the region."
NYSDOT will realign Washington Ave. Ext. to the north and install a two-lane roundabout at the Fuller Road/County Road 156 intersection. A flyover bridge will be built to carry through-traffic, thereby removing 20,000 cars daily from the intersection and providing improved access to CNSE's Albany NanoTech Complex, which is currently engaged in a $366 million expansion project. Nearly 30,000 vehicles travel through the intersection each day.
Pedestrian and bicycle access will be improved with new sidewalks and a new, 10-foot bicycle lane that will connect to existing bike trails. Reduced congestion will enhance transit schedules; new bus bays on Washington Ave. Ext. will provide safer stopping areas for riders.
Most of the work can be done without impacting traffic. More than 3.5 miles of Washington Ave and Washington Ave. Ext. will be reconstructed, together with a half mile stretch of Fuller Rd.
Congressman Paul Tonko said, "This project will not only create jobs and improve the local economy, it also improves the quality of life for residents in the Capital Region. Investments in construction and infrastructure are vitally important to businesses and residents alike. I commend the positive working relationship between the numerous levels of public and private sector to enable this improvement to move forward."
Senator Neil Breslin said, "This project demonstrates Governor Cuomo's commitment to making sure that the Capital Region continues to be an economic engine of New York State. These initiatives will not only ensure that the nanotechnology industry here in the Capital Region continues to thrive, but it will also benefit commuters and pedestrians alike."
Assemblyman John McEneny said, "The forward thinking initiative currently under way to remedy the ever increasing traffic delays at the key intersection of Washington Avenue Extension and Fuller Road will not only improve access to one of the area's emerging economic centers, the University at Albany College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, but will address the traffic needs and alleviate congestion within this important transportation hub for years into the future."
An investment by FRMC is funding 45 percent of the total cost of the project, with NYSDOT and Albany County jointly funding the remainder. Construction of the new infrastructure will cost $14.5 million, while the total project cost, including design, construction, construction inspection and utility work, is $18 million.
Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy said, "As we encourage and welcome the growth of the nanotech industry and the UAlbany NanoCollege, we are pleased that we can also be a part of the solution as we have seen the traffic in this area increase. This will ultimately make travel easier for those who do business in the area, go to school here and live here and the construction is being done in a way that minimizes the period that the road will be closed."
Albany Mayor Gerald Jennings said, "As UAlbany's College of Nanotechnology and Science continues to expand its footprint, enabling even more industrial opportunities and growth, it is imperative that the western gateway to our great Capital City be equipped to provide a seamless transportation environment for all, including motorists, public transit users, pedestrians, and bicyclists. These improvements will not only address significant congestion issues, but also - and more importantly - serve as a testament to our City's and region's economic vitality and growth."
Capital District Transportation Authority Chief Executive Officer Carm Basile said, "We're pleased to work with the New York State Department of Transportation, UAlbany NanoCollege and Albany County to incorporate these needed transit improvements to the Washington Avenue Extension and Fuller Road project. Transit-friendly infrastructure is critical to providing convenient access to support the transit needs of the NanoCollege as it leads New York's world-class nanotech industry to new heights and will help to attract new customers beyond the hundreds of students and staff at the University of Albany who already take advantage of unlimited rides through our universal transportation access program. Better service and more CDTA ridership will translate into economic development along business corridors, take cars off the road and out of parking lots, and provide cost effective solutions to traffic congestion and parking issues here in the Capital Region."
The construction contractor for this project is W. M. Schultz Construction, Inc. of Ballston Spa, Saratoga County. Preliminary site work is under way. The project is expected to be substantially completed this fall, with minor work on Fuller Road to finish next summer.