NISKAYUNA -- Work will begin this spring on a long-planned roundabout at the intersection of River and Rosendale roads.
The Schenectady County Legislature on Tuesday approved a funding resolution for the $1.8 million construction project at a busy intersection where River Road ends at a three-way intersection with Rosendale.
Based on construction bids opened in December, County Engineer Paul Shelton told the Legislature that construction work will start at the end of April and will take place over the summer. Construction is to be completed before school traffic resumes in the fall, he said. The county has already started some tree removal in the area.
Around 10,000 vehicles per day use that section of Rosendale Road, according to state Department of Transportation figures. Rosendale links the Colonie commercial zone and residential neighborhoods with major employers on River Road, including General Electric Global Research and Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory. An elementary and middle school are also in the area, as are several town parks and residental areas.
Some residents spoke out against a roundabout during the county's planning process in 2018, saying it would do little to improve safety or reduce the overall amount of traffic or speed on Rosendale. An outside engineering firm considered alternatives such as constructing a right-hand turn lane or a traffic light, but county officials ultimately decided a roundabout would be the best answer.
The intersection is currently controlled only by a stop sign on River Road; traffic on Rosendale isn't required to stop, so the result has been long backups on River Road, especially in the evening when both GE and Knolls employees are leaving.
Legislator Michelle Ostrelich, D-Niskayuna, thanked county Public Works Director Joe Landry and Shelton for their work to get the roundabout plans approved and on the 2020 construction schedule. "This is going to transform a problematic intersection," she said.
A federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement grant is paying 80 percent of the cost, but the county is potentially responsible for the entire $320,000 local share. State money may later reimburse some of the local share.
The River Road roundabout will be Niskayuna's second, after the roundabout that opened in 2016 at the southern end of the Rexford Bridge, where state Route 146 and Aqueduct Road meet.