The just-completed Round Lake Bypass will open to traffic late this morning, giving motorists an easy way to go around the historic village of Round Lake.
A ceremonial ribbon-cutting with acting state Transportation Commissioner Stanley Gee as one of the participants is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. at the Route 9 end of the bypass, just north of the village.
The $22.4 million route will take people getting off the Northway at Exit 11 on a 1.6-mile limited-access loop around the village, creating easier access to places to the east like Stillwater, Mechanicville and the Luther Forest Technology Campus. People going from those places to the Northway will also get there faster.
The bypass is opening about 10 days ahead of the original schedule, although some landscaping-type work will remain to be done.
“It’s a day we’ve been looking forward to,” said village Mayor Dixie Lee Sacks. Village officials have long wanted to keep through traffic out to protect the quaint historic nature of the community with its narrow streets and concentration of Victorian architecture.
About 5,000 vehicles a day now use George Avenue, the main street through the village, linking Exit 11 and Route 9.
“Ever since I became mayor [in 1990], there’s been more and more traffic going through the village every year. This is a great day for the village,” Sacks said.
The bypass went from being a village dream to a viable project after the Luther Forest Technology Campus was proposed in 2002, bringing state-level focus and funding for the area’s needs.
The technology campus’ environmental impact statement recommended construction of the bypass as a mitigation measure for increased traffic, and the Malta Town Board in 2004 adopted zoning legislation requiring it be built before a computer chip factory opened at the technology campus.
Coincidentally, the bypass is opening in the same week that GlobalFoundries is scheduled to break ground on what will be a $4.2 billion computer chip plant at the technology campus.
The high-tech factory will require up to 2,000 construction workers, 1,400 permanent employees, and an ongoing schedule of truck deliveries — exactly the kind of traffic officials want to keep out of the village.
And over time, the technology park’s backers hope thousands of more jobs will be created there.
Construction on the bypass road began in late 2007 under a state DOT contract with Rifenburg Construction of Brunswick.
The bypass road includes new roundabouts at Curry Road near Exit 11 and at the southern intersection of Routes 9 and 67. A new 630-foot bridge crosses the Ballston Creek.
The work also included blasting a 60-foot-deep rock cut just west of Route 9, and building a new pedestrian bridge to carry the Zim Smith recreation trail over the bypass.
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