Thursday, May 8, was the inaugural public hearing to inform the residents of Albany, Guilderland and Colonie about the construction plans. A PowerPoint presentation was put on by the Albany County Department of Public Works in the NanoTechnology building at 255 Fuller Road.
"It's a good thing all in all," said Mary Ryan, the president of Ryan's Produce on Railroad Avenue in Colonie, where some of the construction would be taking place. Ryan said that in general, she likes the idea of the construction very much but is a little apprehensive about roundabouts.
"The one in Delmar is a mess," she said. "I hope it's not like that one."
Ryan's Produce has been in the area for 98 years. Ryan said that there has been more traffic since more businesses have sprung up along the Washington Avenue Extension, and although the traffic brings congestion, it also brings business.
"It absolutely brings people to the businesses," she said, "I'm looking forward to them starting this project."
Liesse Mohr, a resident who lives on Washington Avenue Extension in Guilderland, is not as optimistic.
"Albany County did not make contact with any of the residents," she said.
Mohr said that she has some reservations about the roundabouts. "There is heavy, heavy, commuter traffic," she said. "A rotary might make traveling more difficult, especially for the senior citizens at Avila [retirement community]."
Mohr said that she likes the idea of businesses and developments moving north but stresses that all of the reconstruction needs to be aesthetically pleasing.
"Everything has to look beautiful and majestic," she said.
Ryan also stressed the importance of Albany County Public Works keeping the residents up-to-date on the plans to reconstruct.
"They need to include the residents to make this beneficial for everyone involved," she said.