Starting Monday, lane restrictions will go into effect on Washington Avenue to accommodate work on a new, permanent median between Schenectady County Community College and downtown.
For three weeks, the multi-lane thoroughfare will be reduced to two lanes in both directions — from Interstate-890 Exit 4C to State Street. The lane closest to the existing median will be closed to give crews room for construction work.
Local officials and residents have long awaited a new median along the road in front of SCCC. When the four-story, 264-bed College Suites was built across from the college, residents raised the issue of potential jaywalking across Washington Avenue. With 264 students living on campus, 264 students would have to cross the busy street to get to class.
The Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority spent $10,000 to put up a temporary barrier last year — a 6-foot-high, chain-link fence that started at the College Suites entrance and continued to the crosswalk at Washington Avenue and State Street. The barrier prevented anyone from crossing the street outside of the crosswalk.
Metroplex is now making it permanent. The economic development agency accepted a $285,965 bid on the project from Rifenburg Construction of Troy. The company will replace the existing barrier with a walkway of red brick, wrought-iron fencing and decorative landscaping.
Work should wrap up in three weeks, depending on the weather.
“This will be much more attractive,” Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen told The Daily Gazette in June. “The brick will match the old Van Curler Hotel and College Suites. We’re going to put some plants on top of the brick. It’s just more attractive, more functional, and it will meet the goal of requiring faculty and students to cross at the crosswalk.”