County aims to set Maple Avenue straight

PETER R. BARBER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER A mound of dirt covers bill boards on Maple Avenue in Glenville Tuesday, December 27, 2017.PETER R. BARBER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER A mound of dirt covers bill boards on Maple Avenue in Glenville Tuesday, December 27, 2017.

By Kristin Schultz

Gazette Reporter

GLENVILLE — After more than two years of planning, work should resume on a new 2,000-foot stretch of Maple Avenue in Glenville in the next few months and wrap up this summer.

While the project has been a while in the making, the county’s goals for the project have not wavered. According to Joe McQueen, Schenectady County’s director of public communication, building the new road will improve the entrance to the Stratton Air National Guard Base, create a buffer between the base and the road and reduce accidents caused by the sharp turn at the bottom of the hill.

McQueen does not anticipate any major traffic snarls due to the nature of the project. The new roadway is being built next to the existing roadway but is completely separate, so no work is scheduled to take place on Maple Avenue itself until the new stretch is connected. The start, and therefore, completion date of the project are weather-dependent and have not been set. However, McQueen anticipates construction will both resume and end this summer.

“Hopefully we’ll get done paving, connect it to the roadway and literally just change the traffic flow,” he said. “There should be minimal disruption for drivers.”

When complete, there will be more distance between the road and the base’s entrance and there will also be a turn lane for those turning into the base. Both features should reduce traffic that stacks up on what is one of the main routes between Schenectady and Saratoga counties.

Additionally, the roadway will be straightened, removing the current S-shaped curve that is both sharp and on a hill. McQueen reported “a lot of accidents” on that curve and says creating a gentle, sloping turn will be safer than the current configuration.

Rexford Bridge project

While the county’s project on Maple Avenue may not cause disturbance, the state’s Rexford Bridge project is slated to start up again, with construction creating inevitable traffic snags. To help drivers avoid jams, navigation apps can suggest an alternate route. One of the alternate routes into northern Schenectady and parts of Niskayuna diverts drivers to Maple Avenue.

McQueen said that even if there is increased traffic due to the Rexford Bridge project, he didn’t think the Maple Avenue construction would compound any tie-ups.

The project will be financed with a $1 million grant from the federal government and $80,000 from Schenectady County.