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Oh, SmAlbany!

Daily posts and occasional longer essays about politics, culture, and life in the Capital Region...updated M-F, midmorning


"I write this not as a booster of Albany, which I am, nor an apologist for the city, which I sometimes am, but rather as a person whose imagination has become fused with a single place, and in that place finds all the elements that a man ever needs..." -W. Kennedy, from O Albany!

Hmmm....

Is it me, or does the pricetag on this local highway project seem a bit steep considering the benefits and the "problem":
A three-year study outlining pros, cons, costs and pitfalls of many multimillion-dollar ideas for improving the Thruway in the Capital Region is finished.

The proposals range from already widely expected changes, such as the addition of a third lane between exits 23 and 24 in Albany County, to more radical concepts, such as "flyover" ramps directly linking the Thruway and the Northway and new toll-collection barriers that would permit the use of highway-speed E-ZPass.The Thruway Authority authorized the study in April 2002, seeking a prescription to deal with escalating bottlenecks and concerns related to increased traffic and aging of pavement and bridges in the area.

The study outlines an assortment of plans sought by Thruway officials for building and modifying interchanges at exits 23, 24, 25 and 25A in Albany and Schenectady counties. The estimated cost for interchange work ranges from $440 million to $530 million.

The study also offers two more-extreme makeover possibilities that would replace some toll plaza interchanges with mainline barriers, similar to structures in place near Woodbury and on the Berkshire spur. Barriers allow motorists to pay tolls without taking a ramp off the highway. Cost estimates for the barrier ideas range from $408 million to $463 million.
Look, I know stuff costs a lot of money, and if stuff is "aging" and needs to be fixed, fine. But what's the big problem with Thruway between exit 23 and 24. Escalating bottlenecks? Don't we already have a "direct connection between the Thruway and Northway, called exit 24?"

Maybe we need these improvement. Maybe we don't. But someone is getting rich on this, and it's not me.
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