ALBANY — Plans to fix a dangerous curve in Niskayuna and upgrade sidewalks and bike lanes in Rotterdam Junction have been added to the Capital Region’s federal transportation funding plan.
Plans to spend an estimated $2 million to address the sharp curve at Old River and Rosendale roads in Niskayuna and to spend $2.2 million in Rotterdam Junction were approved Thursday by the Capital District Transportation Committee, which manages the region’s federal transportation spending.
Also added to the five-year Transportation Improvement Plan was a $713,000 project to create bicycle and pedestrian connections along Washington Avenue in Scotia, which runs from Sunnyside Lane to Schonowe Avenue.
All three projects were announced in April by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but couldn’t proceed without being added to the federal spending plan.
Schenectady County, which owns Rosendale Road, asked for the Old River-Rosendale intersection to be considered for funding, said county Director of Engineering and Public Works Joe Landry.
“What we’re trying to do is make a safer intersection there,” Landry said. “It’s a very sharp curve.”
The intersection, close to the Colonie town line, includes a sharp curve on Rosendale that is at the bottom of a hill for westbound traffic, limiting sight distances. Old River also bends just before the intersection, so drivers on Rosendale don’t see them until the last minute.
Landry said the federal funding process requires that the county hire an engineering firm to independently evaluate options, so he doesn’t yet know whether a roundabout, traffic light or other improvements are the best answer. “[Construction] is probably a couple of years out,” he said.
CDTC planning documents list it for 2021 construction.
The proposed Rotterdam Junction project will actually cost an estimated $2.7 million, with the federal-state grant paying $2.2 million and the town contributing a little over $500,000.
Town officials see the work as helping the hamlet capitalize on development of the Empire State Trail, a statewide bike trail network. Part of the $200 million in trail work includes closing two long-standing gaps in the Mohawk-Hudson Trail in the Rotterdam Junction area.
The project will add to or replace existing sidewalks along the north side of the highway and create high-visibility crossings with handicapped-access ramps and warning signals at intersections, including where bicyclists would cross if going onto the state trail. New directional signage would also be installed.
Travel lanes on Route 5S would be reduced from 12 feet to 11 feet in an effort to slow traffic and make more room for bicycles. Solar-powered radar speed signs would also be installed in the area. Pedestrian and handicapped-access improvements would also extend down Iroquois Street, south off of Route 5S, which will be the connection to the Empire State Trail.
CDTC documents show that project also scheduled for construction in 2021.
In a separate action on Thursday, the CDTC board approved a five-year transportation improvement plan covering 2019-2024. It calls for spending about $102 million per year on transportation improvements in Albany, Saratoga, Schenectady and Rensselaer counties.