County and town officials dug shovels into the dirt on Wednesday, Sept. 23, breaking ground on Albany County's first stimulus project at the intersection of Maxwell and Albany Shaker roads.
The project involves creating a new intersection, closer to William K. Sanford Library, complete with a roundabout to limit the number of traffic accidents. The entire project is being funded by $5.2 million in stimulus funds.
County Commissioner of Public Works Michael Franchini said the project has been designed to limit traffic volume and congestion from vehicles wishing to turn on to Maxwell Road from Albany Shaker Road.
The line backs up and starts getting into Wolf Road, Franchini said, of the problem that occurs when the traffic congests due to the current traffic system at the intersection, which allows for a left turn when no other cars are oncoming.
Franchini said the new intersection will begin near the Shaker Veterinary Hospital on Maxwell Road.
Albany County Executive Mike Breslin said that this is the first stimulus project the county has been able to complete due to its shovel-ready nature and that it is important for the county to complete because it is creating a safety issue for motorists.
"There really becomes a bottleneck," he said. "It's unsafe."
Kenneth Baldwin, senior engineer for Foit-Albert Associates, said the project has been in the works since the late 90s and by 2003, Foit-Albert Associates was designated to the project and actually began working on the design.
The original design included a four-way stop at the intersection instead of a roundabout, but Baldwin said through traffic concerns the firm settled on the roundabout design.
Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan praised the county for working with the town to get the project funded and started.
"We're very grateful," she said. "[This will] make it much safer."
James Hanson, director of regional affairs for Gov. David Paterson, spoke on behalf of the governor in calling the project "an investment."
"It's an investment in jobs, an investment in infrastructure and it's an investment in our community," he said.
For more on this story, check back at www.spotlightnews.com, or read the Wednesday, Sept. 30 print edition of the Colonie Spotlight.