State, town at odds over project

The state Department of Transportation will go ahead with a plan to install sidewalks along a stretc

The state Department of Transportation will go ahead with a plan to install sidewalks along a stretch of state Route 30 as part of a $5.1 million roundabout project, despite concerns from county officials about the plan, according to DOT.

In May, the Fulton County Board of Supervisors sent a letter to DOT asking it to reconsider a plan to install the half-mile stretch of sidewalk along Route 30 near an upcoming roundabout project at state Route 29.

County officials said that the road was not used enough by pedestrians to warrant a sidewalk. Also, they were concerned that the town of Mayfield will have to pay to maintain the sidewalks and remove snow there in the winter.

Mayfield Supervisor Herb McLain could not be reached for comment Tuesday, although he spoke out against the project in May.

“These sidewalks are a burden for my town, big time,” McLain said then. “We don’t want the damn sidewalks. Put grass in there, or whatever.”

DOT Engineer Stephen Zywiak responded to county officials last month in a letter explaining that it is DOT policy to make pedestrian elements a part of its projects.

“Sidewalks are an important feature that we look at for any project and they’re critical for areas that are developed,” he said Tuesday. “If you don’t put the sidewalks in, they’re walking on the edge of the shoulder.”

According to Zywiak’s letter, state law requires towns, cities and villages to maintain sidewalks on state roads.

“I understand the burden this places on the town of Mayfield, but maintenance costs are not an appropriate reason to omit the construction of sidewalks if the need has been identified,” Zywiak wrote.

County officials were also concerned that the planned roundabout at routes 30 and 29 would cut off a driveway to the Fulton County Visitor Center.

The DOT has agreed to meet with local officials to determine a way to move the driveway to maintain access.

There are currently traffic signals at routes 30 and 29. According to county officials, those signals make it possible for motorists to turn left onto Route 30 from nearby county Route 106 and likewise turn left from Route 30 onto Route 106 because traffic is periodically stopped there by the signals.

Once the roundabout is installed, county officials say that there will be more constant traffic flow and it could be even harder for motorists to make the left turns at the routes 30 and 106 intersection without the signals at routes 29 and 30.

“We evaluated it,” Zywiak said. “At this time, there’s not enough need for a signal.”

The construction project, set to start in summer 2010 and be completed later that year, also includes a 43-foot bridge replacement across the Kennyetto Creek on Route 30 and the widening of the Route 30 and county Route 155 intersection.

Workers will also install a three-color signal at the routes 30 and 155 intersection. Currently there is a single flashing light there, Zywiak said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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