Fulton County to seek engineer for road study

JOHNSTOWN – Fulton County officials want to gauge engineers’ interest in doing a study for the proposed connector highway from Fonda to Johnstown.

Officials also are seeking contracts with Montgomery County and the state Department of Transportation to access federal grant funding promised for the study.

The Fulton County Board of Supervisors voted in June to pay the full local cost of a design study for what has been proposed as a “connector” highway. If it is built, trucks coming off the state Thruway could use it to bypass Fonda and Fultonville on their way to Route 30A near the Johnstown Industrial Park.

The federal government will pay $400,000 toward the study, with a $100,000 local match required. The Fulton County board decided in June to pay the entire $100,000 because Montgomery County officials balked at paying $50,000 for the study.

At Monday’s Fulton County Board of Supervisors’ Buildings and Grounds-Highway Committee meeting, county Highways and Facilities Superintendent Mark Yost received permission to request expressions of interest for engineering services for the study.

Yost said 80 percent of the study portion of the project would be funded by the Federal Highway Administration through DOT’s Region 2 office in Utica. The balance of the study will be funded using funds in Fulton County’s capital plan. The total cost of completing the highway is unknown at this point, but officials have said it will be many millions of dollars.

Yost said expressions-of-interest requests will sent to 15 engineering firms on DOT Region 2’s Local Design Services Agreement list. Interested firms will be required to respond to county Administrative Officer Jon Stead by Sept. 18.

The Board of Supervisors may award a contract contingent on the federal government’s authorization to proceed.

The committee on Monday also approved having board Chairman William Waldron sign a contract with Montgomery County and DOT for the study, so Fulton County can access funds, even though Montgomery County isn’t contributing to the study.

“We applied for the [original] grant with Montgomery County as a partner,” Yost said. “They’re not paying, but since we applied with them, we need their signature.”

Waldron said Montgomery County officials are discussing the proposal. He said some property owners in Fonda have concerns about the project, but Montgomery County will probably give its approval.

“I feel as though Montgomery County will sign,” he said.

Yost said after an agreement between the two counties has been signed, Fulton County will be able to execute an agreement with DOT.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.