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Disruption in Schenectady’s Stockade as infrastructure work begins

Disruption in Schenectady’s Stockade as infrastructure work begins

Neighborhood gears up for prolonged construction
Disruption in Schenectady’s Stockade as infrastructure work begins
Construction work takes place at the end of N. Ferry St. in the Stockade near Riverside Park.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

SCHENECTADY — Work is underway on a series of long-planned infrastructure projects in the Stockade. 

City-run projects include a new water pump station and pressurized main pipeline for wastewater.

Those efforts, combined with ongoing work by National Grid to replace leak-prone pipes, are putting pressure on the densely-packed neighborhood. 

Stockade Neighborhood Association President Suzy Unger said while the changes will be a net positive, the work will be disruptive in the meantime. 

“We’ve been trying to coordinate closely with the city on which streets are affected and when they’re affected,” Unger said. “The Stockade is a densely populated small area with not a lot of parking, and the impact is greater than maybe than in some other neighborhoods.”

The city last week posted “no parking” signs along Front Street in order to clear the way for prep work on the force main and to move heavy equipment into place. 

But the signs were up for days before the city actually began towing vehicles, confusing some residents who said the communication could have been handled better.

Lawrence James, who lives on Front Street, said the gap gave some residents a false sense of security. 

“It’s the old story of the boy who cried wolf,” he said. 

But, he added: “Everyone is doing their best in a difficult situation. There’s no animosity.”

Parking is now banned in those posted areas on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The $20.5 million water pump station includes a new station next to the existing building, which was damaged by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 and is under a consent order from the state Department of Environmental Conservation requiring the city to elevate its mechanical components above the floodplain. The historic original pump station will be used for another purpose.

Much of North Ferry Street is now a staging area for equipment. Work is expected to take 18 months. 

As part of the sewer force main project, the city will install 1,300 feet of pipe, ideally laying 20 to 30 feet of pipe daily, said Office of General Services Commissioner Paul Lafond.

The project route will run up North Ferry Street and wind around the traffic circle before venturing down Green Street and crossing under Erie Boulevard and the CP Rail Bridge before emerging on North Jay Street and ultimately following the bike path to Anthony Street.

Lafond has been meeting with the neighborhood association every Wednesday to offer updates.

Combined with improvements to the city’s wastewater treatment plant, the collective cost for all three projects is $50 million.

National Grid has replaced between 8 and 10 miles of leak-prone cast iron pipe with plastic in Scotia and Schenectady this year, and aims to wrap up work in the Stockade in November.

Unger can’t recall when the neighborhood was undergoing so many large-scale infrastructure projects.

“It’s going to be an improvement in the end,” Unger said.

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