‘Connector’ highway study started

JOHNSTOWN – A nearly $500,000 study to determine the feasibility of building a “connector” highway from Fultonville to an area near the Johnstown Industrial Park has begun.

The Fulton County Board of Supervisors’ Buildings and Grounds-Highway Committee received word last week the study is underway.

“The Thruway connector study has commenced,” county Planning Director James Mraz said. “One of the first tasks is to develop a website.”

Fulton County supervisors in February authorized a contract with M.J. Engineering and Land Surveying of Clifton Park to conduct the study. The cost is not to exceed $492,500. County officials say the highway could spur economic development.

The county wants to study a possible state Thruway “connector” highway heading north from Montgomery County. The possible 3.5-mile highway for trucks and other vehicles coming off the Thruway in Fultonville could bypass the villages of Fultonville and Fonda on their way north to Johnstown.

A grant will pay for $400,000 of the study’s cost.

Montgomery County officials have not formally supported the project or committed funding for it.

Mraz said the future website will contain much more information about where the connector project s headed.

“That is something that will be discussed at an upcoming meeting,” the planning official said.

Elsewhere in Mraz’s activities report to the committee:

He said the Town Board has created a zoning commission to develop the town’s first zoning ordinance. Mraz said the county Planning Department was asked to assist the commission, and its first meeting was last week.

Mraz reported the state Department of Transportation may not be able to assist Fulton County – as originally thought – in acquiring right-of-ways needed to develop a section of the Rail Trail between Dennie’s Crossing and County Highway 155. He said DOT is down to one survey crew for the region and may not be able to help due to staffing reductions.

North Star Destination Strategies of Nashville continues with its regional branding project for Fulton and Montgomery counties, Mraz said. He said North Star is currently evaluating Fulton County’s relative position compared to other regions the county competes against for new businesses.

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