CHATHAM—The Town Board awarded construction bids for work on the Albany Turnpike Bridge traffic light project in East Chatham at the town workshop meeting on April 1. The project, which includes work on state Route 295, was awarded state funding several years ago.
The resolution passed by the board says that the Town Board will approve the work “once the New York State Department of Transportation provides Award Notification.”
The board awarded the work to A. Colarusso & Sons. Town Supervisor Donal Collins reviewed the financial plans with the board and Peter Christiano from the engineering firm Barton and Loguidice. Supervisor Collins said looking at the cost for work and the state funding the town should “be on the hook” for about $20,000 of the around $300,000 project.
The plan is to add a traffic light with a sensor on the one-lane bridge and have a lane for traffic coming off of Route 295 to turn onto the bridge. The company that owns the railroad tracks under the bridge, CSX, replaced an old, two-lane bridge in 2014 and made the replacement one lane. Residents who live in the area came to the board after the bridge construction was complete with concerns about sight lines and the visibility of oncoming traffic on the new bridge. The board has been talking about this plan for a traffic light since about 2016. Last year, bids for construction came in higher than expected so the board rebid the work for construction to start this spring.
Also at last week’s meeting the board heard from planner Michael Allen, who was recommended by the town Comprehensive Plan Update Review Committee to work on an update of the plan. The last revision of the plan was in 2009. At a meeting last month, some Town Board members expressed concerns about hiring Mr. Allen to consult on updating the plan at a fee not to exceed $42,000. The members wanted to know whether Mr. Allen could do the work in pieces, starting with a survey that would determine what updates are needed.
Mr. Allen reviewed his process, which is in steps, and said he would be comfortable working on the first few tasks on his list, calling it a logical “bite-sized chunk.” Those steps would involve outreach to the community and also looking at what is in the plan that does not need to be there any more and what are the new trends or issues that should be in an updated plan. He said the old plan had a lot of details and set out a lot for the town to get done.
Mr. Allen said he would work in the segmented approach and as they go through the first few steps “decide if we are both happy with each other.”
At the end of the meeting, Councilman Vance Pitkin said he was “delighted” to hear that the board could start the first few steps. Mr. Pitkin had been one of the board members concerned about hiring the planner at the full amount and what he felt was scrapping the current plan. Town board members Kevin Weldon and John Wapner agreed with Mr. Pitkin.
Also at the meeting:
• The board discussed summer day camp at Crellin Park. Recreation Director Mike West said he is still waiting for protocols from the state on camps but he plans to open with the Covid guidelines set last year
• The board will hold a public hearing on a local law to update the zoning code concerning lot line adjustments. The wording is on the website at www.chathamnewyork.us
• Pending review by the town’s attorney, the board approved distribution of information to town residents about community solar opportunities proposed by Solarize Chatham.
The next board meeting will be April 15 at 6:30 p.m. on Google Meet. Information is on the town’s website.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email