CLIFTON PARK -- The New York State Department of Transportation will unveil preliminary plans later this month for a two-lane roundabout that is meant to slow traffic at the intersection of Vischer Ferry Road with routes 146 and 146A.
The intersection has been acknowledged as a treacherous spot in town for years. Designated as a “high accident” location by the DOT since 1997, a traffic study was conducted at the intersection so the state could determine a way slow traffic, prevent rear-end accidents and decrease driving delays during busy traffic times.
The roundabout project will include creation of a multi-use path west of the intersection that will connect two existing multi-use paths.
DOT anticipates completing design work for the project this winter, according to a press release, with construction expected to begin in the spring.
According to DOT spokesman Bryan Vigianni, construction is estimated to cost $2.7 million and will utilize federal Highway Safety Improvement Program funds.
The DOT studied the intersection between January 2013 and June 2016 and logged 103 accidents there, 20 resulting in injuries. The rate of crashes per million vehicle miles was about seven, which is above the statewide average of around four, according to the DOT.
Heavy commuter traffic through the intersection is one factor that makes the road difficult to navigate, but a large amount of commercial buildings, including a Market 32, contribute to the congestion.
There are also a number of large subdivisions proposed for the area, including one with 79 homes slated for the east side of Miller Road, just south of Route 146.
As residents have expressed concerns about the increased traffic, the Clifton Park Planning Board has pinned hopes on the intersection improvement project to alleviate those fears.
"About a year ago, we announced DOT was commencing a study of the routes 146/146A intersection and would consider options for improving traffic flow in this area," said Clifton Park Town Supervisor Phil Barrett, in a prepared statement. "We have lobbied for improvements to the intersection and appreciate the commitment made by DOT personnel."
The public is invited to see preliminary project plans for the first time from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 20 at the Clifton Park Senior Center. Attendees will have an opportunity to view models of the intersection and comment on the project plans.
Clifton Park Planning Director John Scavo has not seen the project plans yet but said DOT plans traffic improvement projects by using a 20-year lens and takes into consideration any large projects proposed for the area, as well as growth in nearby towns.
"Basically, they forecast out the growth over 20 years," he said. For this project, he added, the state will have considered growth in the neighboring towns of Glenville and Halfmoon.
A roundabout, he said, could be a good solution to keep traffic flowing at the intersection and prevent cars from being stacked up.
"Based on examples of where they've been applied elsewhere, I would say yes, it's one of the solutions that could be applied," he said.