GUILDERLAND — Expect construction soon near one of the area’s largest shopping centers as the Capital District Transportation Authority puts the finishing touches on an 8.5-mile-long project.
Crews from April to July will create a roundabout on Crossgates Mall Road designed to ease access near the Interstate 87 ramp for a forthcoming rapid transit route traversing Albany and the western end of Guilderland.
“It’s going to help our drivers get through that intersection a little more smoothly and we’re also hoping it helps out other motorists traveling through that area in that intersection,” said CDTA spokesperson Emily DeVito.
Roundabout construction for the BRT purple line will be divided into four phases. Here’s a glimpse at what that entails for drivers:
April 3 to May 16: The northbound on-ramp to I-87 will be closed until April 23. Subsequently, right turns on the southbound off-ramp will be off-limits until mid-May.
May 17 to June 8: The road will become one lane of traffic and remain as such until the end of the next phase. Left turns on the northbound on-ramp will be restricted.
June 9 to July 1: Left turns from the southbound off-ramp will be restricted.
July 5 to 28: Traffic is split around what will then be the middle of the roundabout zone. Left turns to and from I-87 remain off-limits.
Crossgates Mall has consistently been one of CDTA’s highest volume stops throughout its multi-county service network.
“We don’t want it to be too hard on motorists traveling through that area — the least disruptive as possible is what I’m trying to say,” DeVito said. “The phases, we think will help that.”
All facets of the project have been coordinated with the Guilderland Planning Board and Pyramid Group over the last seven years.
The Purple Line is expected to be fully operational come late 2023. Crews have been remodeling stops along the route since May of last year.
DeVito said that the authority is still in the process of making some infrastructure adjustments at the University at Albany.
Both UAlbany’s uptown and downtown campuses would be connected by the new limited stop line, which will run predominantly down Western Avenue and Washington Avenue. The line is also expected to include stops at the Harriman Campus, the College of Saint Rose and SUNY Polytechnic Institute.
The line would mark the latest installment in a series of color-coded routes to hit the Capital Region. CDTA first launched the 17-mile Albany-to-Schenectady Red Line in 2011 and in 2020, Waterford-to-Albany and Cohoes-to-Albany Blue Line routes.
“People really do enjoy that quick service with limited stop options, so I think this will be a really good addition to our BRT line,” said DeVito.
Around 51,000 people live within less than a mile of the line of the Purple Line, a portion of whom are believed to already access public transportation.
The authority faced some local opposition toward the more $77 million project last year, as residents opposed two proposed stations as out of character for their neighborhoods in Albany. CDTA ultimately opted to remove the stations in the Buckingham Pond and Melrose neighborhoods.
Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at 518-395-3047 or [email protected] Follow him on Facebook at Tyler A. McNeil, Daily Gazette or Twitter @TylerAMcNeil.
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