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Airport exit options narrow

It is an idea that has been proposed since the 1960s, but finally the New York State Department of Transportation is pushing forward on its Exit 3 project for Interstate 87.

The project is meant to be a direct path to the Albany International Airport, as well as a way to reduce traffic during rush hours. The original list of nearly 40 alternatives for the project has been narrowed down to four options.

The ideas range from adding an extension to Exit 4 to building an Exit 3, said DOT Capital Region Spokesman Pete Van Keuren. "We're hoping over the next year to get rid of two of the options."

There are several partners involved in the decision making, according to Van Keuren. Among them are the Albany County Airport Authority, the Town of Colonie's Department of Public Works and federal and environmental agencies.

"It's a major project," said Van Keuren. "It takes a lot of time to get a perspective, and we have to look at the overall impact of the options."

The Albany County Airport Authority has already announced its favorite plan, which is to build an entirely new exit, which would require replacing the bridge that extends over Albany-Shaker Road.

New exit ramps would be built from I-87 southbound to Albany-Shaker Road, I-87 southbound to Wolf Road at Marcus Boulevard and from I-87 northbound to Albany-Shaker Road. The project would also include the removal of the existing Exit 4 southbound ramp according to DOT.

"It will be a decision DOT will make," said Albany County Airport Authority Spokesman Doug Myer. "We will tell them what we feel is the best option."

Town of Colonie's Department of Public Works Commissioner Jack Cunningham said the project would be a big benefit in getting airport traffic out of a commuter area.

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