Bethlehem residents come out against bypass

Jim Donovan, a senior landscape architect with WilburSmith Associates, presented the plans during the public hearing and fielded many of the questions from residents.

"Transportation systems are an important component of the community," Donovan said during the presentation's introduction. "It's assumed that a lot of future development of the town will occur within the 9W corridor."

He said all of the proposals were consistent with the town's comprehensive plan, but, he said, the town might want to consider the residents' recommendation that the open space plan be in place first.

Steven Wiley, who lives off of Route 144, said he was worried about the cost of the project.

"It seems to me that we need to get real about taxes in this town and in this state," Wiley said during the meeting. "We're talking about spending $20 million or so to move trucks with the hopes to pay it off with the promise of future economic development."

Town Planner Jeff Lipnicky told residents the truck traffic has been an issue for years and that the neighboring municipalities of Coeymans and Ravena did not want the trucks on their roads, either.

"We've had no success in asking them to take our trucks," Lipnicky joked at the meeting. "We've been working on this for 20 years."

Donovan told residents that a new bypass route would reduce the traffic burden on Route 9W, which would divert at least 200 vehicle trips and lessen the need for major capital improvements on the road.

Cunningham said the current study has been going over a year and that it is only a series of recommendations, not a finalized plan. He said currently there is no money for the suggested improvements and that a plan needs to be put in place for when finances can be secured.

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