QUEENSBURY — Route 9 near the outlet mall has three possible options to ease traffic, according to engineering firm Creighton Manning LLP, which presented plans to residents and officials on Thursday. The study believed the three-lane road with a turning-lane median has reached capacity and has shoppers avoiding the area altogether.
There are no immediate funding options. After a plan is created to ease traffic, funds will be sought from local, state and federal sources.
The three options, besides doing nothing, are:
- Widening the roadway to five lanes with a turning lane median ($10 million)
- Place roundabouts with raised medians ($10 million)
- Create an east access to Route 149 ($10-15 million)
The study had a fourth option of relocating the I-87 exit a touch farther north, however, with the cost at $50-75 million, the unlikelihood the state would fund it and the time it would take to finish that project, the architects deemed it unfeasible.
Each option has positives and negatives that were discussed. The five-lane option creates difficulty for those attempting to turn left as more lanes will be needed to cross and it takes away some parking as well. Also, pedestrians, which delay traffic heavily in the area, will need to cross more lanes.
The roundabouts were best for pedestrians, but force those turning left to turn right and go to a roundabout and take the full circle to go their desired direction. This plan would also take away parking spots from some lots to attain the required room.
Lastly, the east access, which begins at the northbound I-87 exit, will have a road in between the Warren County Jail and The Outlets at Lake George and connect to Route 149 beyond the commercial area. This will take more travelers that are passing through out of the busy thoroughfare, but will also have those businesses lose more drivers who will observe its location.
“I think the bottom line is, regardless of your position, you want to see some improvements in that area,” EDC Warren County President and CEO Ed Bartholomew said.
“Besides the great economic boon that is along the outlets in Warren County in the town of Queensbury, there is a safety issue with pedestrians crossing all helter skelter as well as the importance during the heavy traffic periods of time, it’s very difficult for emergency squads and fire vehicles to get through that area.”
The study had side works that were also discussed to ease other issues:
- Connect to the bicycle/trail
- Pedestrian bridge ($1.5-2 million)
- West parcel back access
- Create a roundabout at southbound exit/entrance for I-87
- Improvements at Great Escape
The pedestrian bridge, which has ramps to be ADA compliant, was feared to be inconvenient for shoppers that might just attempt to cross the street anyway due to the long ramp.
The west parcel back access looked to connect the parking lot for Super Shoes to the French Mountain Commons outlets. It may take more travelers off of Route 9 that are going from area to area.
Those who attended the meeting leaned toward a mixture of both roundabouts and widening the roadway. Many were positive for the west parcel back access, but nothing was decided on Thursday.
The next meeting will include the final report in December.