Two Albany-bound commuter woes at end

Washington Avenue bridge, Twin Bridges work wraps up

Monday, November 12, 2012
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The newly rerouted Washington Avenue Extension around the UAlbany Nanoscience construction on Sunday, November 11, 2012.
Photographer: Patrick Dodson
The newly rerouted Washington Avenue Extension around the UAlbany Nanoscience construction on Sunday, November 11, 2012.

— Thousands of commuters will be relieved to know road construction at two major area bottlenecks is at an end.

As of this morning, the roundabout and flyover bridge on Fuller Road and Washington Avenue Extension in Albany was declared complete by state Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald.

And the resurfacing project that has tied up weekend traffic over the Northway’s Thaddeus Kosciusko bridge, known as the Twin Bridges, was also finished for the season late Sunday.

“This has been a long haul for everyone who lives, works or travels through this area of Albany County,” Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy said of the Fuller Road project. “The end result is a spectacular improvement and will accommodate the thousands of cars that travel in this area every day. Thank you to residents and business owners for your patience during this process.”

A two-lane roundabout at the intersection of Fuller Road and County Road 156 was completed earlier this fall with the flyover Washington Avenue Extension bridge opened to westbound traffic a few weeks ago. This morning, the flyover bridge will open to eastbound traffic as well, marking the completion of the $18 million project.

“This is truly a multi-modal project,” McDonald said. “It improves safety for motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists and bus riders, at the same time as drastically reducing congestion-related travel delays.”

Nearly 30,000 drivers use the intersection each day, and according to Assemblyman Jack McEneny, “this work should unsnarl one of the biggest traffic tie-ups in the area.”

With new 10-foot-wide bike lanes connecting to area bike paths, the new intersection is expected to draw additional pedestrian traffic.

The work also provides improved access to the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at UAlbany, which is in the midst of a $366 million expansion project.

bridge project

To the north, Northway drivers can look forward to a winter of delay-free access to the Twin Bridges. For most of September and October, the northbound bridge was closed each weekend for resurfacing.

“We had to get a permanent layer of pavement on before winter,” said DOT spokesman Bryan Viggiani, “but we tried to minimize the impact on commuters.”

During most of the closures, one lane of northbound traffic was redirected over the southbound bridge, dividing it in two and markedly slowing traffic at times. This weekend, crews only closed two of the three northbound lanes, leaving the southbound bridge open.

The project represents only half of a $29 million effort to prolong the life of the bridge.

Resurfacing will begin on the southbound bridge some time next spring and will probably cause similar weekend closures.

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