Motorists traveling to and from Bethlehem have their hands full driving around a maze of county and state road projects slowing down major thoroughfares. Add to that the latest news that a four-mile stretch of Blessing Road will be closed for eight weeks due to construction of a roundabout.
The most visible road work is the Route 85 Slingerlands bypass project, where three roundabouts are under construction by the state Department of Transportation with a fourth roundabout being built at the entrance of the new Vista Technology Park.
Roundabout construction is under way at he intersections of Routes 85 and 140, Route 85 and Maher Road and Route 85 and Blessing Road is where roundabout construction is under way.
The reason for Blessing Road being closed is two-fold, according to Peter Van Keuren, DOT spokesman.
It is both the start of the roundabout work on Blessing Road and work on the bridge adjacent to Blessing Road, where the bridge will go to four lanes, said Van Keuren.
A signed detour route is now in place to help motorists follow Krumkill Road to access Route 85.
"We are trying to improve traffic flow and to make it safer for travelers now waiting 35 to 40 seconds for the traffic light," said Van Keuren.
Once the Blessing Road roundabout is complete, the traffic light will be taken away. The only Route 85 traffic light that will exist when all roundabout projects are complete in Bethlehem will be the light at the T-intersection of Route 85 and New Scotland Road in Slingerlands just before the Slingerlands Price Chopper.
The town of Bethlehem, DOT and Albany County are coordinating their summer and fall roadwork projects to make driving easier for motorists. The total cost of the Slingerlands Bypass project, including reconstruction of 1.5 miles of 85 between Cherry Avenue extension and Blessing Road, is $15.2 million.