NISKAYUNA — A tricky intersection will be re-constructed for safer travel.
The state will provide $1.8 million for "geometric enhancements" that will improve the intersection of Rosendale Road and Old River Road.
Drivers now traveling Rosendale from Route 7 must negotiate a sharp curve as they travel down a hill toward Old River Road. At the intersection, motorists turn left to remain on Rosendale; they can make a quick right turn onto Old River.
Drivers proceeding from Rosendale onto Old River often must pause to make sure a car or truck does not quickly approach the intersection from the other direction on Rosendale.
"The whole purpose of the project is to improve safety," said Joseph McQueen, a spokesman for Schenectady County.
"There is no specific plan yet," McQueen also said. "Now that we have the grant, it is one of those processes where we will have to engage with an engineer or an engineering firm, they will develop three plans for the intersection.
"We will then bring that to the public," McQueen added. "There will be public comment and then the project will actually commence."
The Rosendale-River project is one of 11 Capital Region projects costing a combined $27 million announced last week by the office of Governor Andrew Cuomo.
In addition to projects local projects that include Rotterdam, Rensselaer and Albany, construction will take place in 61 other locations across the state.
The statewide infrastructure investment will cost a total of $144.6 million.
In Niskayuna, improved safety is the goal.
"We want to increase and improve visibility," McQueen said. "If you drive it, you know it's a pretty tricky intersection."
Niskayuna town officials are looking forward to the improvements.
"I'm pleased the governor will be investing in transportation enhancements throughout the Capital District and most especially for the town of Niskayuna," said Supervisor Yasmine Syed.
"This will hopefully make the intersection safer and wider," Syed also said. "It's a hairpin turn, somewhat of a blind curve, so any enhancements and improvement to that particular intersection will be beneficial to our commuters."
Denise Murphy McGraw, a town councilwoman and the chairwoman of the Highways and Public Facilities Committee, said the state's "significant investment" in Niskayuna will make much-needed improvements to a very difficult intersection that is a gateway to the community.
"It is welcome news at a time when we are having townwide conversations about motorist, bicyclist and pedestrian safety," McGraw said.
Mike Cassella, who lives on Rosendale close to the intersection, said he has made complaints about the road to both county and town officials.
"We've got speeding cars and large trucks and the big problem really is lack of patrol here," Cassella said. "The cars coming down the road, people know the turn they're just laying into it and they're flying. Other people aren't as familiar, they don't know what the turn is, they actually come to a stop and cause a traffic jam a lot of the times."
Cassella said a stop sign at the end of Old River is treated like a yield sign by drivers continuing onto Rosendale. "They don't stop," he said.
Cassella believes speed and weight limits should be better enforced.
"I'm not complaining," he said. "The police have their hands full."
Contact Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 518-395-3124 or at [email protected]