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State opens new bridges in Lake Placid, AuSable Forks

October 17, 2017
By staff , Lake Placid News

New York state on Friday officially announced that two new bridges over the West Branch of the AuSable River were opened last week: one on state Route 73 beside Lake Placid's 1980 Olympic ski jumps, and the other on state Route 9N in downtown AuSable Forks.

The new Lake Placid bridge replaced a pair of 85-year-old "ski jump bridges" or "Intervale bridges," as they are sometimes locally known, across the river. Last week, removal of the old bridges was completed, as was additional work including guiderail installation, shoulder work, plantings and wetland construction.

The bridge in AuSable Forks connects the town of Jay, Essex County, with the town of Black Brook, Clinton County. Two-way traffic on it began last week, and the sidewalk on the eastern side of the bridge opened this week. Additional sidewalk work on both sides of the bridge remains to be completed.

The contract for both bridges is scheduled to end in June 2018. Minor work at both sites is scheduled to continue until then.

The work is part of a $9.9 million multi-bridge contract and is part of the $542 million Empire Bridge program, a key piece of New York's commitment to rebuilding critical infrastructure.

The Lake Placid bridge, by going from two spans to one, lets water and river debris flow through with less obstruction in case of extreme weather events such as 2012's Tropical Storm Irene, when tree trucks swept away by the storm clogged up under one of these bridges.

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"Across the state, we are building new, state-of-the-art bridges to replace vulnerable structures and dramatically improve infrastructure resiliency in the face of extreme weather," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press release. "With Route 73 serving as a critical route to Lake Placid and the High Peaks, reliable and efficient transportation is key to increasing tourism and growing the economy."

The Empire Bridge program, administered by the State Department of Transportation, is replacing 100 aging, vulnerable and out-of-date structures across the state. The new bridges will be more resilient than their predecessors and better able to withstand flooding.

"I've had the pleasure now of crossing the new Route 73 bridge numerous times," state Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, said in the release. "Investment in infrastructure has many benefits and a lasting impact. Our region is heavily dependent on tourism, and quality roads and bridges certainly help convey a welcoming message to visitors. The Department of Transportation did a great job on the bridge, and I am pleased to join the governor in celebrating the completion of this project."

"Infrastructure investment is key to both our communities' safety and economic success," added state Assemblyman Dan Stec, R-Queensbury.

"The completion of the Intervale Bridge over the West Branch is a major achievement and significant improvement to the Lake Placid travel corridor," North Elba town Supervisor Roby Politi said. "We wholeheartedly congratulate the New York State Department of Transportation for their strenuous efforts to make this project both appealing and safe for the thousands of visitors that frequent our community."

"We're very happy to have our bridge up and running and open to two-lane traffic in AuSable Forks," Jay town Supervisor Archie Depo said. "I thank the Governor for everything he has done for this area."

Town of Black Brook Supervisor Jon Douglass also thanked Cuomo in the release.

"Opening a new bridge is always a significant achievement," he said. "The North Country Region economy depends on reliable transportation infrastructure."



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