By JASON SUBIK
Mayor Michael Villa announced $10.6 million in state Department of Transportation projects to repair five bridges in the city.
Villa made the announcement Friday on the grassy "island" located at the top of the Route 30 Bridge Street ramp, which has a flower garden in the center of it. He was joined by fellow Republicans 1st Ward Alderman Patrick Russo, 2nd Ward Alderman Paul Ochal and Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort.
"Back in 2015, as part of our campaign, we pointed out that bridge infrastructure in the city had not been done in a number of years and shortly after taking office I met with DOT, met with them in 2016, in 2017 and at that point we were promised that significant dollars were going to be coming to Amsterdam to improve our bridge structure, our infrastructure," Villa said. "Today I'm very proud to announce that we're going to be receiving $10.6 million in bridge reconstruction that will begin in 2020."
Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, praised the state Department of Transportation for the infrastructure investment in a news release Friday. He said he helped fight for the funding to be included in the state budget.
"Infrastructure is the backbone of a city’s economic health, and this state funding is an investment in Amsterdam’s future," Santabarbara stated. "Once completed, these projects will make roads and bridges safer and more efficient for city residents and local businesses. I’ll keep working to secure smart investments like this in Amsterdam and do everything I can to help our great city grow and flourish."
Villa detailed these five construction projects:
• Route 30 over Cleveland Avenue: Stage 1 will include joint repairs on the outside lanes, that will involve lane closures. Stage 2 will include the inside lanes, also requiring lane closures;
• Route 30 ramp over Minaville Street: There will be bridge construction, lane replacement and new paving. The construction will require a detour and lane closures;
• Route 30 over Route 67: The project will include joint replacement, deck repairs and lane closures
• Route 5 over Chuctanunda Creek: The project will include bridge and rail replacement, bridge transition replacement and a lane closure; and
• Route 30 over Mohawk River east and west arterial: Stage 1 will be sidewalk and deck rehab and joint replacement on the outside lanes, stage 2 sidewalk, deck rehab on the outside lanes that will require a detour for both stages. The work will also be to rehab and replace bridge joints.
"This is a significant investment in our city. This is $10.6 million on top of $4.2 million in the CMAQ grant we received, which is going to give us the roundabouts, the sidewalk and the aesthetic enhancements, and let us not forget [$1.9 million] for Church Street, $3.2 million for the bridge and sidewalk reconstruction on Pioneer Street through Shuttleworth Park and as well as the city application for [$2.4 million] in CMAQ [funding for] lighting, crosswalks and sidewalks," Villa said.
CMAQ stands for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Community Multiscale Air Quality Modeling System grants, which are administered through state DOT.
Villa said the $2.4 million CMAQ grant requires the city to pay a $485,000 match. Villa estimated the total amount of funding for Amsterdam between all of the grant awards is $22.4 million.
Ossenfort said the city's getting far more benefit than the cost of the relatively small match required for the CMAQ grant.
"This is a huge shot in the arm for Amsterdam's infrastructure that you're going to see day in and day out, coupled with the [New York state Downtown Revitalization Grant], the momentum has picked up and the mayor does deserve credit for that," Ossenfort said.
Villa said he believes the work put into the city's 2018 application for $10 million DRI grant by county and city staff including Danielle Whelly, the city's former assistant director for the Tourism, Marketing and Recreation Department, Amanda Bearcroft, Amsterdam's director of community and economic development, and Michele Pawlik, the city assistant director of recreation, has been instrumental in Amsterdam receiving additional state and federal funding.
"What it's done is that when the governor and his staff nominate a city for [the $10 million DRI] they want to make sure that city is successful," Villa said. "So, I think we have a better opportunity when we submit our grants. The window is open right now. We have to take advantage of every opportunity that is there while that window is open. They expect us to do great things, and so far that has paid off tremendously for us."
He said Bearcroft recently wrote the city's application for a $5.4 million U.S. Department of Transportation BUILD grant that would help construct an "up and over" to link the city's award winning Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook Pedestrian bridge to downtown.
He said all of the infrastructure improvements should help the city's long-term goal of creating a proposed $34 million downtown multimodal station, which would relocate the West Main Street Amtrak station to downtown.
"This is the beginning of some transformational projects that involve the DRI, such as the CMAQ dollars to create roundabouts that are needed, prepare for the closure of Route 5 and funnel our traffic through the city instead of just running it past it," Villa said.