Merchants to air concerns with DOT

When the state Department of Transportation shut down the northbound lane on the Route 10 bridge hea

When the state Department of Transportation shut down the northbound lane on the Route 10 bridge headed to Palatine Bridge, business owners reported a major downturn in revenue.

The bridge replacement is one of several projects under way or on the schedule in Montgomery County, and a meeting set for later this month may help business owners get detailed information to help avoid similar outcomes.

The Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce is holding a business breakfast on infrastructure projects on Aug. 21.

Guests at the meeting will include representatives of the state DOT, including Regional Director Michael A. Shamma, Regional Planning and Program Manager Robert Ric and Local Projects Manager Jim Piccola, according to the chamber.

Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce President Debbie Auspelmyer said the meeting should provide detailed information for business leaders concerned about the potential loss of customers that could result from detours, closed bridges and other consequences of roadway improvements.

“Our ultimate goal is to really inform the business community on things that do impact their business,” Auspelmyer said.

Auspelmyer said DOT representatives are planning to compile a list of projects that are slated for the future.

Some major projects planned or under way include a Route 30 reconstruction in Amsterdam, replacement of the Route 10 bridge over the Canajoharie Creek and the planned replacement of the Route 30A bridge that spans the railroad tracks in Fonda.

The meeting may present an opportunity for business owners to get an early read on what can be expected, Auspelmyer said. Public hearings are always held prior to projects, but business representatives may not always be there to realize the impact that changes in routes or road closures could have on them.

Several business owners in Palatine Bridge reported major declines in revenue when the DOT shut down the Route 10 bridge between Canajoharie and Palatine Bridge.

The complicated task of replacing the bridge with another type required the DOT to shut down one lane — and it turned out to be the northbound lane.

That left businesses in Palatine Bridge asking customers to drive west to Fort Plain in order to cross the Mohawk River and do their shopping.

“It has hurt the businesses out there, and I have talked to a couple of different people to get a feel for how things were,” Auspelmyer said.

Auspelmyer said she anticipates that guests at the breakfast will ask how the DOT decides on what work will be done during the small window of construction time available in the Northeast.

Having a meeting with project managers may provide the business community with a way to prepare for the impact of projects, Auspelmyer said.

“I think this is a great way to do that,” Auspelmyer said.

The event is slated for 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 21, at the Winner’s Circle on Route 5 just east of Fonda. The cost for breakfast is $15 for chamber members and $20 for nonmembers.

To reserve a seat, call the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce at 853-1800.

Categories: Schenectady County

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