By Maureen Werther
A stretch of road along Route 9, from Route 149 to Sweet Road in Queensbury (Exit 20), is the subject of a $100,000 traffic study, an area for “targeted growth, investment, revenue and new jobs” that is expected to span over the next decade, according to Ed Bartholomew, president and CEO of EDC Warren County.
The study was completed by the engineering firm of Creighton Manning LLP and funded by EDC Warren County, Warren County and National Grid. In September, EDC Warren County held what was billed as an “open house and interactive meeting” to discuss he study.
Currently, the area has a mix of residential homes and commercial businesses. According to the press release put out by EDC, the “success and growth of this corridor collectively over time has led to increased traffic and congestion beyond normal seasonal peaks.”
In addition to the congestion, the roadway has increasingly become more dangerous for pedestrians and more difficult for emergency vehicles to get through during heavy traffic periods.
The open house meeting gave residents and business owners an opportunity to hear the results of the study and discuss some of the options that were put forth by Creighton.
Creighton’s study concluded that the existing three-lane road had reached its capacity, with the resulting consequence of shoppers going out of their way to avoid the area—not a plus for existing businesses along the route or for future development in the area.
Creighton outlined three options to ease traffic near the outlet mall, which included widening the existing roadway from three lanes to five, with a turning lane median; constructing roundabouts with raised medians; or creating an access road to Route 149 from the east.
The other option would be to leave the existing route as is, an alternative that Bartholomew and others feel would impede future growth and deter investment, new businesses and, by extension, new customers from traveling to the area.
The Creighton study estimated that the first two of the three alternatives would cost in the $10 million range, with the third choice estimated to cost between $10-$15 million.
Another option—that would involve the relocation of the I-87 exit further to the north and costing upwards for $75 million—was determined to be unfeasible because it was unlikely that the state would provide the necessary funding.
Currently, there is no funding available for any of the other three options, with the plan being to reach a decision on the best alternative and then seek funding from local, state and federal sources.
Bartholomew said that there was lively and interactive discussion of all options, with the pros and cons of each alternative raised by attendees and representatives from Creighton and from EDC members.
The general consensus seemed to be leaning toward installing roundabouts, as well as widening the road.
While nothing was decided, Bartholomew stressed the importance of implementing improvements to the Corridor, regardless of which option people were considering.
Another meeting is scheduled for December, at which tine a final report will be issued.