Schenectady County

Glenridge Road widening to start at railroad underpass

Crews are scheduled to begin excavation work this week to prepare for widening the Glenridge Road ra

Crews are scheduled to begin excavation work this week to prepare for widening the Glenridge Road railroad bridge underpasses as part of a nearly $12 million project.

“They’re going to be working on both of the railroad underpasses throughout the summer and into the fall so by the end of the year, there should be two new underpasses,” said Department of Transportation spokeswoman Carol Breen.

One of the underpasses is currently so narrow that only one lane of traffic can pass at a time, and traffic flow is controlled by a signal.

This is the second year of work on the Glenridge Road reconstruction project, which involves widening a one-mile section of the road from Maple Avenue to Route 146 to create 11-foot-wide travel lanes and 6-foot-wide shoulders. Currently, the shoulder ranges from about 4 feet to nearly nothing.

The bulk of the work last year involved relocating the utilities, according to Breen. “It took some time coordinating with the various utilities,” she said.

In addition to widening the underpasses, workers will be changing the grade of the road to make a more gradual decline.

“That will make it easier for people to drive,” Breen said.

Breen said motorists should be alert because there will be lane shifts and occasional one-way alternating traffic. She reminded drivers that this is an active work zone. “They’re going to be seeing people in the road on a daily basis. Motorists need to really pay attention — not be on their cellphones, not be texting, [but be] obeying the flaggers,” she said.

There will be a one-week closure of Glenridge Road between Bruce Drive and Bradt Road in mid-to-late July, so crews can install a new drainage system, Breen said. Motorists will be detoured from Route 146 to Alplaus Avenue to Maple Avenue and then back to Route 146 and Glenridge Road.

Next year, Glenridge Road will be closed for the entire summer as work begins on the roundabout that will be at the intersection of Maple Avenue and Glenridge Road. Breen said it is too difficult to allow traffic to flow while construction is under way.

“It’s safer and easier to build it that way,” she said.

In addition, the Glenridge Road bridge over Alplaus Kill is being replaced next year. Glenridge Road would be reopened in time for the first day of school in the fall. The target date to complete the project is Dec. 1, 2013.

Director of Operations James MacFarland said the town is thrilled about the changes coming to the road, especially the widening and flattening of the steep hill. He used to travel down the road to commute to work.

“In winter, it’s very significant because cars would slow dramatically as they were heading eastward through the railroad underpass and they had difficulty making it up that hill. That is definitely going to affect the safety and ease of traveling that hill,” he said.

It will also be a relief to have those bridge underpasses widened, according to MacFarland.

“Motorists had complained of damaging car mirrors as they would go through because it is so tight,” he said.

MacFarland said the roundabout should make traffic flow more smoothly. Sometimes, it was impossible to make a left turn to head down Maple Avenue because of a backup of cars.

The town hasn’t received any complaints about the work so far, according to MacFarland.

“It seems like DOT and the contractor have been doing a good job to allow traffic to move,” he said. “I think the public understands it’s been a long time coming, this project, so if we have to put up with a few minor inconveniences for a couple years, so be it,” he said.

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