LAKE PLACID - Some local officials want the state to include bikes lanes when state Route 86 is repaved this spring between here and Saranac Lake, but an official with the state Department of Transportation says that won't happen.
At the Tuesday April 10 regular meeting of the North Elba town board, Code Enforcement Officer Jim Morganson said he wants DOT to facilitate bike lanes on the 8-mile stretch of highway. He said he's glad the state is finally fixing up the road, which has been neglected for years, but he's also been "a proponent of taking it a step further," which means including extra room for bike lanes.
The state confirmed recently that it plans to mill and repave Route 86 between the two villages. The project was originally scheduled to take place last year, but DOT had to delay it so it could repair roads and bridges damaged by Tropical Storm Irene.
Town board members unanimously passed a resolution asking the DOT to put a 5-foot-wide bike lane on Route 86.
"It wouldn't be that much more to add bike lanes," said town Councilman Bob Miller.
Councilman Derek Doty noted that "every major route leaving Saranac Lake has a bike lane."
But it sounds like town officials will have to do some strong lobbying to convince DOT to build lanes this year.
"We are not building any additional lanes as part of this project," DOT spokeswoman Carol Breen said in an email to the Enterprise on Thursday.
"We will remove and replace the existing pavement," Breen added. "Building bike lanes could be considered as part of a more in-depth reconstruction in the future."
Meanwhile, Politi thanked the state for repaving that stretch of Route 86. Officials from Saranac Lake and Lake Placid advocated for the project.
"Kudos to them," Politi said. "It was a very dangerous situation."