Remember the McDonald’s commercial that tested everyone’s 518 savvy? “Exit 3 on the Northway?” “There isn’t one.” That’s all about to change.
For frequent Northway travelers, you’ve surely noticed the construction near the Albany Airport. The long-anticipated Exit 3 is set to open later in 2019, a year sooner than initially planned. Exit 3 is just one piece of a multi-faceted effort to renovate Albany International Airport and improve the experiences of road and air travelers alike.
The new Northway-Albany Airport Connector will allow drivers to exit the Northway and continue directly to the airport, something that has been on New York State’s to-do list for years. “For 50 years people talked about and studied how to build direct access to Albany Airport, but it never materialized,” said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in a statement. “Now we are actually getting it done.”
Work on the Northway-Albany Airport Connector was supposed to begin this spring, but NYSDOT was able to start last fall, advancing the project ahead of schedule. The Connector will become Exit 3, with three ramps, including a flyover bridge leading from the northbound lanes. The ramps for both north and southbound exiting traffic will bring travelers directly to Albany Shaker Road, cutting out the need to wait through extra traffic lights and reducing congestion at the intersection of Albany Shaker Road and Old Wolf Road.
Exits 4 and 5 will also undergo changes to make travel more streamlined. The Exit 4 and 5 southbound on/off ramp will be replaced with shorter, individual ramps, with the Exit 5 on-ramp connecting directly from Watervliet-Shaker Road. On the northbound side, an auxiliary lane will enable drivers to go from one exit to the other without changing lanes.
The changes to the Northway are part of a $104.6 million project to update, improve, and modernize Albany International Airport that began last fall. The airport was last renovated in 1998. One component of the update is the addition of a new 1000-car parking garage, which will add 20 percent more parking to the complex. The new garage will feature GPS technology that will make it easier to find a parking spot, and a heated walkway that connects to the terminal.
The terminal will also be renovated, with the escalators, food court, restrooms, and waiting areas all being refurbished. Technology improvements include the addition of solar panels, energy-efficient lighting, and better internet service.
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Reference: Press Release, July 9, 2019, “After 50 Years of Delay, Governor Cuomo Announces New Exit 3 to Improve Accessibility at Albany International Airport.”