Erie Boulevard was abuzz with more activity than usual Monday, with drivers avoiding potholes, traversing metal boards and narrowing down to one lane of traffic, while cones, construction crews and machinery dotted the streetscape.
The city is in the midst of overhauling Erie Boulevard between the roundabout at Nott Street and the Union Street intersection, the final portion of a multimillion-dollar effort to upgrade one of the city’s main thoroughfares. When finished, that section of the roadway will be freshly surfaced, and have new sidewalks and curbs.
“It’s an active construction site,” City Engineer Chris Wallin said. “People might see it as an open road, but it’s an active work zone. If you feel it’s inconvenient, seek alternative routes until it’s complete.”
An initial layer of fresh asphalt will be laid in about two weeks, but the condition of the road has in some ways gotten worse before it can get better, as significant underground work must be completed before the surface can be paved.
The goal is to finish the entire project by Nov. 1, Wallin said, at which point the road from Interstate 890 up to the roundabout will be uniform.
Crews have spent the last several weeks installing new water mains, and more recently putting in service lines for water to nearby buildings, Wallin said. Those will be completed this week, he said.
At the same time, a sewer cleaning crew has been working along the road to repair and maintain breaks and known problem areas along the underground sanitary lines.
Another set of workers will be leveling out the road in the coming days, Wallin said. That way, he said, when a paver comes in to apply a fresh surface, it will be even.
Once all of that is completed, Schenectady-based Callanan Industries will apply an initial coat of pavement. That will tentatively be done Aug. 12, Wallin said.
“This will greatly improve the road’s condition and ease in traffic control as the project moves forward,” Wallin said.
In addition, the city will put in new sidewalks and curbs, Wallin said. Curb removals will get underway next week, he said, starting on the east side of the road, where Morette’s is located.
Sidewalks on that side of the road will be closed, with pedestrians asked to use the opposite side of the road. Once the east side is complete, crews will rip up the west side — near Mike’s Hot Dogs — and replace that sidewalk.
After that, crews will move in for a final milling and repaving of Erie Boulevard, Wallin said.
All of this is to be finished by November, assuming the weather cooperates, he said. Meanwhile, the city planning commission is studying the zoning uses along that stretch of road as businesses look to attract new tenants.
“When it’s done, it’s going to be a terrific corridor and something we can be proud of,” Wallin said. “It’ll lead to the Mohawk Harbor and downtown. It’s going to be great."