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Guilderland Archives The Altamont Enterprise, March 8, 2012
Boulevard residents shaken by pothole-riddled road
ALTAMONT Residents of Altamont Boulevard want their road repaved to reduce window-shattering vibrations from passing traffic, and the state plans to do so this spring.
However, Altamont’s mayor has long been frustrated that the state won’t consider a project upgrading sidewalks and sewer along the road as well on what he considers a gateway to the village
Altamont Oaks resident Linda Lown is working with four other village volunteers to gather signatures for a petition she wants to submit to the New York State Department of Transportation. She said that the stretch on Altamont Boulevard, or State Route 156, from the intersection at Route 146 along to the village boundary by the Altamont fairgrounds is considered rough road by the state and will only be patched, not repaved. Potholes were filled with blacktop patches on Wednesday morning.
DOT spokesperson Carol Breen told The Enterprise that the road had been slated for work last fall, but that tropical storms delayed the schedule.
“It is in poor condition,” Breen said. “We are going to go in this spring and take up the asphalt and put new asphalt down.”
Mayor James Gaughan said that he did not help write or circulate the petition, but that he supports the residents’ efforts.
“For years since I was elected in 2005, I've been trying to get the various authorities responsible for that road...to organize an intervention,” Gaughan said.
The road has not been repaved since 1921, he said.
Lown said that the vibrations from passing traffic on the potholes once shattered her window.
“Your pictures fall off the walls,” she said.
“One woman fell off her bike and was hurt because of the potholes,” she continued. “The drainage is very bad. People are being flooded out.”
This week, Lown contacted Senator Neil Breslin, she said.
“We have well over a hundred signatures and statements,” she said. “We’re the main thoroughfare from Altamont to Voorheesville, and there’s major traffic that goes through.”
Gaughan said that dealing with road, culvert, sidewalk, and water and sewer repairs on Altamont Boulevard has been a “frustrating, frustrating, frustrating experience for me.”
According to the village’s final comprehensive plan created in 2006, Altamont Boulevard is mentioned under safety and traffic issues as an area needing changes for adequate safety and emergency vehicle access.
The state is currently fixing a culvert by the Stewart’s Shop at the intersection of routes 156 and 146.
“I had thought that, by making a safety issue of the culvert, they would take the road seriously. They’re not addressing the entirety of the road,” Gaughan said. “It’s not just a sidewalk, it’s the road, the sewer and water lines. They don’t want to address it piecemeal. We’re willing to accept a watered-down solution the roads only but they wouldn’t do it.”
Gaughan said that the underground water and sewer lines are “out of compliance. They cross each other in some sections of the road,” he said.
Gaughan said that, before the economic downturn, the state left the projects due to confusion over town, village, and state jurisdiction. Now, he said, the state says there is no money and it is focusing on bridge repairs.
“The theme is ‘no attention,’” he said. “I would sign the petition for the health and safety, as well as having a good ride into Altamont.”
He said that the repairs would have an “economic impact on this village that would be excellent for us.” Repairs there could improve home values, he said. The entrance into the village from Guilderland is beautiful, unlike the entrance on Altamont Boulevard, he said.
“Come in from that end of the village it’s not the same kind of feeling,” Gaughan said. “I hope people throughout the village would sign it. It affects all of us.”
Breen said that Route 156 was resurfaced in the early 1990s. No major reconstruction of that stretch of road is planned, she said. The new asphalt this spring “will make a better ride and smooth out the road,” she said. The road volume for that spot averaged 1,900 cars per day over the course of a year, Breen said.
“It’s pretty low,” she said.
Gaughan said that the village board members are aware of his efforts to have repairs made on Altamont Boulevard.
“They would welcome some intervention on any level,” he said. He and the board are happy that the culvert is being repaired, but unhappy that drainage and other issues have not been resolved, Gaughan said.
He said that the only other way the village could address the repairs would be to create “an incredible tax increase, which we will not do. So, we continue to petition.”
Lown said that drainage and flooding issues would continue, even with the culvert repairs.
“There is no drainage through here,” she said. She said that yards on Altamont Boulevard wash out during storms. During one storm, she said, “We had logs rolling down our driveway. We need to get this [information] out, and something done. It needs to be fixed.”
Lown wants the sidewalks on Altamont Boulevard to be repaired along with the road.
“We have a lot of elderly people who walk here. They’ve been falling, because of the sidewalks,” she said.
Breen said that sidewalks are not part of the plan for the spring repairs, but that some municipalities have done their own work.
The village “would need a work permit from us to do any work on our road,” she said. A traffic engineer would review an application to look for “connectability,” she said. For example, sidewalks cannot lead to nowhere, but “have to connect to a business district,” she said.
By Jo E. Prout
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