New York Construction Report staff writer
An $11 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration will be used for upgrades to State Fair Boulevard in the Town of Geddes, building 17,000 sq. ft. of new Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalks and eliminating three at-grade crossings.
The project is anticipated to begin design in 2024 and be completed in 2026.
The grade crossing consolidation project at the New York State Fairgrounds will take place on State Fair Boulevard. Construction will improve safety conditions for the more than two million annual visitors to the New York State Fairgrounds by installing flashers, gates, traffic lights, and other safety devices at the fairgrounds at gates 1, 2, 4 and 6 as well as along State Fair Boulevard.
More than 17,000 square feet of new ADA-compliant sidewalks will be installed, facilitating movement from parking areas toward the entry gates, ensuring that individuals can safely enter the fair at a protected crossing.
“The State Fairgrounds are one of the largest tourist destinations in all of New York, and this federal grant – made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Program – will make the visitor experience a safer, more enjoyable one for millions coming from across the globe every year,” said Governor Kathy Hochul. “From the moment a fairgoer departs a car, bus or train, the Fairgrounds are fundamentally a pedestrian experience, and we want to keep pedestrians as safe as possible as they enjoy all the wonders that this 375-acre complex has have to offer.
“Coupled with our ongoing, multi-million-dollar investments to upgrade the Fairgrounds’ infrastructure and experience, these enhancements to State Fair Boulevard will help enhance safety while ensuring a great time for all.”
Three at-grade crossings will be eliminated, while the remaining four will be equipped with new warning devices, barriers, and fencing.
The project also includes modifying the Empire State Trail route so that it no longer requires entry into the Fairgrounds, eliminating unnecessary grade crossings for pedestrians and cyclists using the trail. New sidewalk connections will be built as part of the re-routing of the Empire State Trail, increasing navigability and safety of this widely used bicycle and pedestrian trail. It is estimated that approximately two million people utilize these grade crossings annually, with over one million of these crossings occurring during the Great New York State Fair.
The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration Railroad Crossing Elimination Grant program provided $573 million in funding for highway-rail or pathway-rail grade crossing improvement projects that focus on improving the safety and mobility of people and goods.
The New York State Department of Transportation will contribute a 20 percent non-Federal match toward the project.