MALTA -- The town has awarded a $1.665 million contract to add sidewalks along state Route 9 between the Dunning Street and Stonebreak Road roundabouts, and generally make that stretch of highway more pedestrian-friendly.
The Town Board last week awarded the contract to James H. Maloy Inc. of Loudonville, which is expected to start work in the spring and be done by late summer.
The roughly one-mile stretch of highway is considered part of Malta's downtown under its zoning code, but has seen less development than has occurred around the Route 67-Dunning Street roundabout. Town officials are expecting more development to occur, though. Park Place and other high-density residential developments have been built just off Route 9, though the highway itself is generally zoned for commercial use.
“The plans will improve our downtown area dramatically," said Town Supervisor Darren O'Connor. "This project will enhance the walkability of the downtown area for the many residents of the area as well as visitors. It will also provide traffic-calming and visually enrich a gateway to the town.”
The project will improve pedestrian access between housing developments and downtown businesses by building significantly improved sidewalks, town officials said. The project will build a complete sidewalk on the east side of Route 9, which now has only a few short sidewalk sections built by developers. There will also be some additional sidewalks added on the west side of the highway, though some sections are still being left to developers.
"It's the whole idea of having complete streets and connectivity in our downtown area," said Jaime O'Neill, the town's director planning and development.
In addition, a new crosswalk will be be built across the four-lane road in the vicinity of Saratoga Village Boulevard, with a mid-crossing pedestrian island and flashing lights to indicate a crosswalk.
The project is the outgrowth of a Capital District Transportation Committee study of the area's needs, including how to make the area more bicycle and pedestrian-friendly. The stretch of highway is increasingly busy, with Malta's downtown commercial concentration at the northern end, and Stonebreak Road, one of the primary entrances to the GlobalFoundries computer chip complex, at the other end. About 16,000 vehicles per day currently use the corridor, with the morning and evening commuting hours being the busiest times.
The town met with local businesses, first responders and residents as part of developing the plans and took many of their suggestions, O'Neill said.
A state multi-modal grant will cover $782,000 of the cost, and the remainder from mitigation fees collected from developers. Town officials said they expect no impact on town property taxes.
The anticipated start of construction is sometime in the spring, town Comptroller Kevin King said, with completion by Aug. 31.