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Hearing provides straight talk on roundabout

Legislators, concerned residents, and county officials discussed plans to begin a two-year construction project of a roundabout at the intersection of Fuller Road and the Washington Avenue Extension at a public information hearing on Thursday, June 26.

The public information meeting focused on two separate plans to improve traffic conditions. The first plan, and the focus of the meeting, is the potential construction of the roundabout at the intersection. The second plan is a corridor project that would extend from Western Avenue to Central Avenue.

Plans to improve Fuller road, a county-controlled motorway, have been in the works for five years, said Michael V. Franchini, Albany County Department of Public Works commissioner.

"We tried to meet with the stakeholders to make sure we weren't too off-base. We didn't want to bring anything to the public that wasn't feasible," said Franchini.

The first project will cost $4.9 million. A federal fund would pay for $2 million, with the rest coming out of the county budget, according to a slideshow presentation shown at the meeting. The corridor plan will cost $12 million, all coming from the county.

Initial planning featured 14 alternatives for the intersection before the field was narrowed down to six.

"There were many alternatives considered, including some that make you drive on the opposite side of the road, which isn't a great idea," said Jeff Pangburn, an associate and project manager with Creighton Manning Engineering.

One even featured a bridge that overpasses the roundabout.

That bridge would hopefully serve to cut peak-hour traffic by 3,000 vehicles, or half, of the all traffic that uses that intersection during rush hour, Pangburn said.

An estimated 60,000 cars use the intersection each day, according to information provided at the event. The high volume of traffic has caused that intersection to have three times the state average of accidents per year.

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