Board to consider bypass study

FONDA – Montgomery?County supervisors have varying opinions about a proposed bypass from Fultonville to Route 30A in?Fulton?County.

However, the Board of Supervisors’ General Services Committee on Tuesday moved a resolution authorizing a bypass study to the full board meeting Aug. 27 without any recommendations.

Fulton County officials have said they hope Montgomery County will OK a contract for a study to look into a “connector highway” to bypass traffic from Thruway Exit 28 in Fultonville to Route 30A near the Johnstown Industrial Park.

The federal government agreed to pay $400,000 for the study if the counties contributed $100,000. Fulton County decided to pay the entire $100,000 back in June because Montgomery County was apprehensive about paying $50,000 for the study.

The study cannot move forward unless Montgomery County signs the contract because the counties applied for it together.

However, some supervisors expressed differing opinions when it came to agreeing to the project.

Town of Amsterdam Supervisor Thomas DiMezza said he doesn’t think the bypass is a good idea.

DiMezza told the board he’s received many calls from residents that live on Switzer Hill Road in the town of Mohawk who don’t like the idea of the highway construction that could occur in their neighborhood.

DiMezza said he took a drive to Switzer Hill Road with his GPS on to calculate the Fultonville Thruway Exit is 1.05 miles to the top of Switzer Hill and it has an elevation of 500 feet.

“It’s a 500-foot elevation for the bridge,” he said. “I can’t even imagine what the girders would look like, and I’ve received numerous calls from people who don’t want this bridge. I’d rather have the money go to Fort Plain, they need it more.”

DiMezza said he thinks the connector highway would cause a lot of economic problems for Montgomery County.

“The truck stops will be impacted because trucks will just continue into Johnstown and stop there,” he said. “This [bypass] has the potential to hurt employees and sales tax money. I don’t see any benefits for Montgomery County coming from this [bypass].”

DiMezza also said he didn’t support the bypass because it wouldn’t be constructed for another 25 to 30 years.

“This is something that won’t happen for another 30 years and the money could go toward something better right now. It’s just not a good idea and I oppose it,” he said.

John Thayer, chairman of the board and Root supervisor, agreed with DiMezza the bridge wouldn’t be seen for another 30 years.

However, he expressed support for approving the study to “honor Fulton County.”

“I think we should try to create regional cooperation between both counties,” Thayer said. “We didn’t have any desire to contribute money to the study, but the study can’t move forward without our sign off. We haven’t always worked well together [with Fulton County] but whatever effort we can make to create a partnership we need to work toward.”