The work at the GlobalFoundries computer chip plant in Luther Forest is having at least one spin-off effect town officials don’t want: more traffic on local roads.
Car and truck traffic has increased on Dunning Street, the main road through the Luther Forest housing development, even though construction workers and GlobalFoundries employees are encouraged not to use that route.
“The traffic has been ongoing for many, many months,” said Town Board member Tara Thomas, who lives in Luther Forest. “The intention was not to put new traffic onto Luther Forest streets.”
“We have been getting a lot of complaints from the neighborhood,” said Carol Henry, chairwoman of the town’s tech campus Citizens Response Board, which was established to field citizen concerns. “The problem is once people get in a habit, it’s really hard to break.”
What the town can do — aside from asking people to use other routes — is unclear. Creighton Manning traffic engineer Don Adams, town Highway Superintendent Roger Crandall and Town Attorney Tom Peterson plan to discuss the situation, but Peterson said the town doesn’t have the authority to simply close public roads without following a lengthy process.
The Luther Forest Technology Campus, where GlobalFoundries is building its factory, was approved by town officials in 2004 with the understanding that there would be no new through traffic between the housing development and the tech park, although they adjoin in places.
The state-owned Saratoga Technology and Energy Park lies between them, and Hermes Road runs through the park, between the tech campus and Dunning Street. Activity in the STEP facility — including Hudson Valley Community College classes — is also contributing to increased local traffic.
Two new entrance roads for the technology campus have been built away from the housing development, but the entrances themselves are still under construction. Stonebreak Road and Route 9 has been the designated entrance for construction traffic.
GlobalFoundries spokesman Travis Bullard said the company can enforce the construction traffic restriction by contract but can’t enforce such a restriction on its employees.
“There’s no way for us to enforce or dictate to people that they not use a public road,” he said.
But he said the company has heard the town’s complaints. “If there’s something we can do to help the town, we will,” he said.
On the other side of the tech campus, the roundabout at what will be the main public entrance is now under construction on Route 67 north of Round Lake. It is due to open July 25.
But that work is creating a separate traffic problem because Route 67 at the roundabout site will be closed to eastbound traffic for about two weeks, starting at 7 a.m. Monday.
The state Department of Transportation says people should detour 13 miles through Clifton Park, but town officials fully expect drivers to find shorter detours — like residential Old State Road, which bypasses the roundabout construction.
Route 67 will remain open to westbound traffic, said DOT spokeswoman Carol Breen.
“Truck traffic must follow the signed detour using state roads and are not permitted to use local roads during the closure,” she said.
Town Supervisor Paul Sausville said the inconvenience should be short-lived, until the roundabout opens. “These are part of the growing pains,” he said at a Town Board meeting Tuesday.
Once the Route 67 roundabout is finished, crews from Kubricky Construction will start building a roundabout at Route 9 and Stonebreak Road, the other main entrance to the tech campus.
Currently, town officials say outbound traffic backs up on Stonebreak Road because of people trying to make a difficult left-hand turn across two lanes of Route 9.