The town is taking early steps to design roadway improvements to help manage traffic growth along Round Lake Road.
The road, the main feeder from the west to Northway Exit 11, is seeing more traffic in the last year or two because of new residential development in the town of Ballston.
“Ballston is exploding right outside the town line,” said Councilwoman Maggi Ruisi, chairwoman of the Exit 11 Mini-Master Plan Update Committee.
The committee, appointed in April to study land use and traffic issues, realized it needed additional professional help in studying traffic issues in the one-mile corridor between Round Lake village and East Line Road, she said. The Town Board on Monday awarded a $36,055 contract to The Chazen Companies of Glens Falls, which, working with Creighton Manning Engineering of Albany, will recommend highway improvements.
The firms will study current traffic conditions and make predictions about future traffic, which could grow further based on new truck traffic coming from the intermodal railyard in Halfmoon, commuters going to the GlobalFoundries computer chip plant and other development.
The study will come up with some preliminary improvement plans — information town officials then plan to use to pursue state and federal funding to build the improvements.
“The plan is that the study will get the corridor onto the regional [Transportation Improvement Program] to get some funding, to get it to the point where the road is safe and drivable,” Ruisi said.
The Chazen study is expected to take three to five months.
The intersections of Round Lake Road with East Line, Ruhle and Raylinsky roads are already on a preliminary list of priority regional projects, when and if federal transportation improvement funding becomes available.
But those projects haven’t been designed.
Round Lake Road is owned by Saratoga County, but the county’s policy is that local communities have to find the money for road improvements, if they’re needed due to growing traffic volumes.
“We maintain a safe roadway and capacity improvements are the responsibility of the local community,” said county Public Works Commissioner Joseph C. Ritchey.
Town Supervisor Paul Sausville said the town would like the county’s financial help, since much of the new traffic is being generated by development in Ballston.
“The problem is coming from commuters who are headed to points westward,” Sausville said.
Ritchey said the county would support federal and state funding applications, but wouldn’t say the county would make any financial contribution toward the improvements.
All traffic going to Northway Exit 11 is funneled at some point onto Round Lake Road. It has a short commercial corridor near the exit — some parts of which are vacant or underused.
“That’s a lot of potential for redevelopment in that corridor,” Ruisi said.
Round Lake Road is a two-lane highway. It has intersections with smaller town roads that lead to large housing developments in Malta, including Country Knolls, Avendale and the Northway Eleven Communities apartment complex. A significant amount of that new housing has been built in the past 15 years and has increased local traffic.
A Hannaford supermarket is now under construction at the Malta Mall, giving the mall an anchor tenant for the first time in years.
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