Re: NY - Airport exit off I-87 revived
- From: Elmer <ElmerCat@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2007 10:56:54 -0700
On Oct 22, 5:08 pm, "Douglas Kerr"
Airport exit off I-87 revived
State transportation planners considering four proposals for more direct
route from Northway
By CATHY WOODRUFF, Staff writer
Albany (N.Y.) Times Union
First published: Monday, October 22, 2007
COLONIE -- More than 40 years after it originally was to be built and six
years after it last popped up on public radar, the elusive Northway Exit 3
Four proposals that state transportation planners say could help motorists
move more safely and easily between Interstate 87 and Albany International
Airport are on the table, and a new project schedule calls for completion in
The ideas still include construction of an Exit 3 interchange to fill the
long-standing gap between exits 2 and 4, but variations also now include
replacing Exit 4 with a dramatically upgraded interchange instead.
All the plans call for replacing the rusting Northway bridge over Albany
Shaker Road, just west of Wolf Road, and at least two would create a new
connector road between Wolf Road and Dalessondro Boulevard next to the
airport. Current ramps could be eliminated and intersections could be
But state Department of Transportation Project Manager Angelo Trichilo
cautioned that there's a lot of room for mixing or replacing pieces of the
proposals that will be presented at a public meeting for comment on
"These are not written in stone," he said. "At this point, they are more of
conceptual alternatives. They may not be what we go with on paper."
When the southern section of I-87 in Albany County opened in 1960 -- an
early piece of what later became known as the Adirondack Northway -- a gap
in numbering and spacing was deliberately left between Exit 2 at Central
Avenue and Exit 4, which leads to Wolf Road and Albany Shaker Road.
The idea was to leave room for a connection to a road included in the
region's interstate highway plan, which was to be known as I-687 and was to
serve as an east-west expressway between the Corporate Woods exit off I-90
in Albany and I-87 and Albany County Airport.
I-687 never happened, though.
State and federal highway funding programs changed and suburban growth in
Colonie brought many homes and businesses to the land the highway would have
occupied. According to DOT, the interstate was removed from the region's
long-range highway plan in 1973 and scratched from the national interstate
system plan in 1977.
As a result, Exit 3 also didn't happen and Capital Region motorists were
left to use an awkward configuration of ramps at Exit 4 to reach the airport
and an assortment of businesses and neighborhoods around the intersection of
Wolf and Albany Shaker roads.
"Exit 4, as it's designed, was always intended to be kind of a temporary
design," said David Jukins, principal engineer with the Capital District
Officials at what is now known as Albany International Airport consider some
kind of direct connection with the Northway to be essential for the
airport's long-term financial health and traveler appeal, said spokesman
"Exit 3 would provide an easy-on/easy-off option for airport customers," who
now frequently battle rush hour bottlenecks, backups and delays at the Exit
4 ramps to Wolf and Albany Shaker roads, he said.
Officials also view an easier Northway connection as critical to long-range
plans for expansion and economic development at the airport.
"We have parties who are interested in coming to this airport and they want
to see direct access from the highway to the airport," said Myers.
DOT held its last public informational meeting on Exit 3 in 2001. After
that, 19 alternatives were developed, more reviews took place and the four
current proposals -- plus a required alternative that calls for doing
nothing -- were put together.
A number of factors have contributed to the snail's pace, including
development of revised federal environmental review guidelines, funding
uncertainties and staff shortages and turnover at DOT. Trichilo is the fifth
engineer in charge named to the Exit 3 project since this decade began.
The project is now established on the regional plan for major transportation
improvements with an estimated cost of roughly $45 million, including design
and engineering. The estimate may not reflect the cost of acquiring any
additional property needed, however, transportation experts say.
The bulk of the money -- as much as 90 percent -- would likely come from
federal highway improvement funds.
Because of the time lapsed since Exit 3 first was envisioned decades ago,
designing and carrying out the project will be a far more complex matter,
Jukins and Trichilo agreed.
Planners must adhere to extensive regulations and address resident concerns
related to nearby wetlands, a historic district, farmland, storm water
runoff and thicker residential and commercial development.
The regulations and environmental review processes required to build near
wetlands are far more extensive than they were even a decade or two ago,
But Jukins and Trichilo also noted that ideas about how highway projects
should be designed have changed much over the years, making it likely that
whatever happens now will be more in tune with current community priorities.
"We have different ways of looking at things today," Jukins said. If I-687
actually had been built, "we'd have different problems; I-687 would have cut
right across the middle of the town of Colonie."
* What: Open house, informal discussion and formal presentation on Exit 3
* Where: Sand Creek Middle School auditorium, 329 Sand Creek Road, Colonie
* When: 6 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. Formal presentation from 7 to 7:30 p.m.
* On the Web:https://www.nysdot.gov/portal/page/portal/regional-offices/region1/pr...-
- or go tohttps://www.nysdot.gov/Click on "Projects," then click on "I-87
Exit 3 Project"
The freeway that was to connect I-90 exit 5 with the Northway exit 3,
was not called I-687, at least not through the time it was cancelled.
The DOT may have had that designation planned for it, but common usage
in the media always referred to it as "The Sand Creek Expressway".
(Hmmm... Could the prettier sounding name have contributed to public
opposition to it's route? I don't know...)
Although the bridge and ramps at exit 5 were built with the orignal
I-90, for years they were just ghosts until ultimately the Corporate
Woods developement was able to make use of them.
Another ghost interchange at I-90 exit 8 was originally intended for
the South Mall Expressway, which was to have gone through Rensselaer
and attach to that ghastly, ghostly end of the Dunn Memorial Bridge.
Instead, exit 8 was eventually recycled for use with NY-43.
The Sand Creek Expressway (supposedly a.k.a. I-687) would not have
been as useful as the South Mall Expressway, which would have offered
an alternate to the Patroon Island Bridge for traffic headed to
downtown Albany and the Thruway.
- NY - Airport exit off I-87 revived
- From: Douglas Kerr
- NY - Airport exit off I-87 revived
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