Work has begun on a long-delayed project to build a new southbound left-turn lane on Route 50 at the entrance to the Corporate Technology Park.
The project halfway between Burnt Hills and Ballston Spa is being done by Rifenburg Construction of Troy, which was awarded a contract more than a year ago by the town of Ballston, which is overseeing the project as an industrial access improvement.
The town first got a grant for the work in 2006, and it was originally thought that construction would take place in 2007. But there have been right-of-way issues and other delays, since installation of the left-turn lane requires acquiring property to widen the road.
“We had trouble dealing with [Department of Transportation] permit requirements and there were deed issues with landowners,” said town Supervisor Patti Southworth.
Now that it’s under way, work is expected to take about 30 days. “They’re supposed to be done before the asphalt plants close [for the season],” she said.
The original 2012 contract with Rifenburg was for $346,000, but because of the one-year delay, Rifenburg was granted an additional $39,000 to compensate for rising asphalt prices and an increase in the prevailing wage.
A federal multimodal grant awarded in 2006 is paying most of the cost, with the local share coming from Specialty Silicone Products, the silicone manufacturer that owns the Corporate Technology Park and has its headquarters there.
“There is no money out-of-pocket for the town,” Southworth said.
The turn lane will reduce southbound traffic backups on Route 50 at McCrea Hill Road, the entrance to the industrial park.
The congestion has increased since the Beacon Hill housing development was built just north of the industrial park. More housing construction is under way in the area, so traffic volume is expected to keep growing.
The 85-acre industrial park, which was established in 1999, is owned by Specialty Silicone Products but has several other tenants, including an enormous Parts Unlimited vehicle parts warehouse. It still has at least three vacant developable lots, but DOT officials have said no more development can take place there until the left-turn lane is built.
Southworth said she’s pleased the work, which was planned before she became supervisor in 2008, has finally begun.
“I will be happy to have the project completed before I leave office,” said the supervisor, whose term finishes at the end of the year.