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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, July 29, 2010

Roundabout with a fly-over bridge is proposed for Fuller Road

By Anne Hayden

ALBANY COUNTY — In three years, a roundabout with a bridge over it may ease traffic jams on Fuller Road.

Representatives from Creighton Manning Engineering held a public meeting on July 22 to discuss the preferred alternative for reconstruction of the Fuller Road and Washington Avenue intersection.

The solution presented to the audience of more than 100 people was a two-lane roundabout, with a four-lane bridge over Fuller Road, connecting Washington Avenue with Washington Avenue Extension; the project would cost $16.5 million.

Each day, about 60,000 cars that travel through the intersection, along with the cyclists and pedestrians, causing traffic jams and delays.

The county first identified the need for change at the intersection, which currently has a traffic light and has limited pedestrian and bicycle accommodations, in 2002, according to Jeffrey Pangburn, the project manager of Creighton Manning Engineering’s consulting team. Federal funding for the project was secured in 2005, and the engineering firm was selected for the project in 2007.

The first public meeting on the project was held in June 2008, and a roundabout for the intersection was proposed at that time, according to Pangburn. He said research on roundabouts shows a 39-percent reduction in traffic accidents in comparison to intersections with stoplights. Roundabouts also reduce vehicle and pedestrian conflict points, he said.

Two other solutions include a new intersection with a traffic light, and a two-lane roundabout without the bridge, but, after considering public feedback, the engineering firm came up with the preferred alternative of the combination of the roundabout and bridge. That solution is best because it would have very little environmental effect, and reduce intersection congestion by one-third, Pangburn said.

The four-lane bridge connecting Washington Avenue and Washington Avenue Extension would remove 20,000 cars from the intersection; those cars would bypass the intersection completely. Vehicles traveling on Fuller Road would enter the roundabout and continue on Fuller Road, or turn onto Washington Avenue.

The size of the roundabout would also allow for wide sidewalks to be installed on both sides of Fuller Road, providing better pedestrian connections, said Pangburn.

During the meeting, some residents expressed concerns about the current speed limit on Fuller Road, and McKownville residents worried that the continuous flow of traffic through the roundabout would make it difficult to pull out of a driveway and onto Fuller Road.

Pangburn said the engineering firm could not address those concerns, because it had only been hired to find a solution to the problems with the intersection.

The preferred alternative will not become the chosen alternative until the draft of the state-required environmental impact report is finished, which Pangburn said would be in six to eight weeks. Once the project is approved, the engineering firm hopes to wrap up the detailed design work and begin construction by the fall of 2011, and to finish construction by the fall of 2013.

The project will be paid for with a combination of federal, state, and county funding, said Pangburn.

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