Over $90 Million in Improvements Coming to Albany Airport & Exit 4

posted by WGY News - 

More than $90 million worth of improvements is on the way to Albany International Airport and the Northway. Plans unveiled Tuesday call for more parking and a modernization of the main terminal, complete with new dining areas.

Airport CEO John O' Donnell says the terminal is 20-years-old, and a bit "tired."

As for the new Northway Exit 4, DOT Chief Engineer Wahid Albert says, "it's going to relieve congestion tremendously on Wolf Road and the old Wolf Road and the Albany Shaker road area."

Preliminary work is expected to start this fall, with everything finished by the fall of 2020.

More info from Governor Cuomo's Press Release:

Modernizing Albany International Airport Albany International Airport's main terminal was built in 1962 and underwent its last significant renovation in 1998. About 1.4 million people a year board planes at the airport, which has an outdated appearance and limited parking. The airport redesign includes:

New Parking Garage -- The project will construct a 1,000-unit, multi-level parking garage, expanding airport parking capacity by 20 percent. The pre-cast concrete garage will provide a heated pedestrian walkway to the airport terminal. Energy-efficient LED lights will illuminate that bridge, enhancing visibility as well as vehicular and pedestrian safety.

Parking Access Improvements -- The project will install new LED electronic signage, car counting devices, and interactive access control devices that utilize advanced GPS technology to locate available parking spaces and provide wayfinding messages that direct motorists to them. The existing parking system is nearly 20 years old and its electronic controls are in disrepair.

Terminal Rehabilitation and Passenger Amenities - The project will rehabilitate the terminal, including escalators, restrooms, waiting rooms and the food court. Improvements will include new carpets, wall finishes, tile floors, energy-efficient lighting fixtures and better Internet connectivity.

The State is awarding the airport $22.1 million for the plan. Albany International Airport has secured all additional funding for a total project cost of $42.1 million.

Albany Airport Connector at Exit 4

Complementing the modernization effort is the New York State Department of Transportation project that will construct an Albany Airport Connector at Exit 4 of the Adirondack Northway (Interstate 87) in the Town of Colonie, Albany County. The project will provide direct access to Albany International Airport from the Northway and support the Capital Region's extraordinary growth in the education, technology and pharmaceutical sectors.

NYSDOT is accelerating the project, initially scheduled to start next spring, and will be advertising for construction bids this week with the project expected to get underway this fall. The project is scheduled to be completed by late 2020. Funding for the anticipated $50 million project was included in Governor Cuomo's $100 billion Infrastructure Renewal Plan.

The project will reconfigure the Exit 4 interchange by creating a flyover for northbound Northway traffic. The new ramp will travel over the Northway, loop behind and to the west of the Desmond Hotel and come to a new T-intersection with Albany-Shaker Road, close to the airport. For southbound traffic on the Northway, a new off-ramp will be built to travel behind the Desmond Hotel and connect to a flyover ramp that will lead to the new intersection.

Project plans also call for a new, direct on-ramp from Route 155 (Watervliet-Shaker Road) at Exit 5 to the southbound Northway, eliminating the need for the existing frontage ramp off the southbound side of the highway.

On the northbound side, the on-ramp adjacent to the Times Union building will be extended all the way to Exit 5 for Route 155, creating a longer auxiliary lane that will make it easier for drivers to merge onto the northbound Northway and to depart the highway at Exit 5. A noise wall is planned to be built on the northbound side between Exits 4 and 5. The project will also convert the existing northbound Exit 4 off-ramp to allow for right-turn only maneuvers onto Wolf Road.

For travelers heading to the airport from the northbound Northway, the project will eliminate the need to travel through two additional traffic lights. For southbound Northway travelers, the project will eliminate the need to travel through one additional traffic light. Crash rates and travel times are expected to decrease as a result.

The project will also enhance connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists by providing sidewalks on the south side of Albany Shaker Road between the connector road and Wolf Road as well as a shared use path between the Albany International Airport and the connector road.

Construction of the airport connector road also will free up large tracts of commercially zoned parcels for commercial redevelopment and improvement by the private sector.

An estimated 40,000 motor vehicles per day use Exit 4 at the Northway and an estimated 102,000 motor vehicles travel over Albany-Shaker Road at that location daily.

In October 2015, the Department of Transportation completed a $22.3 million project to replace the bridges carrying the Northway over Albany-Shaker Road. This was the first of two phases of work planned at Exit 4. The 2015 project replaced two bridges that were built as part of the original Northway construction in 1959.

Photos/Video: New York State

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