Indian Lake Board focuses on infrastructure issues during meeting

INDIAN LAKE The pending replacement of the Abanakee "Causeway Bridge" in Indian Lake, topped the agenda at a recent Indian Lake Town Board meeting. As bridge repair and replacement continues to draw attention nationwide, the Hamilton County Highway Department promised to take proactive steps toward addressing concerns and problematic areas. Tracy Eldridge, Hamilton County Highway Superintendent, spoke to the board and outlined the County's plan to replace the Abanakee (Causeway) Bridge by the end of 2008. "We have over 60 bridges in Hamilton County, either under our jurisdiction or the local town's, and about half are due for repair or replacement," Eldridge said. "The Abanakee Bridge is structurally sound, and we're inspecting it regularly, but at 80 years old its time to address it before it becomes a problem." The proposed bridge replacement will pose an inconvenience to area residents as the replacement project progresses, but the project will provide a direct benefit to the town. "We're looking at a galvanized truss bridge that will be longer and wider than the current bridge. It'll have a cantilevered walkway so we can get fisherman and foot-traffic out of the roadway," Eldridge added. Due to the environmental issues involved with demolition, the County will need to coordinate with the Town of Indian Lake regarding lake levels. While a final schedule is pending, Eldridge felt the bulk of work would be performed after the Labor Day weekend. "My only concern has to do with the rafting association," Supervisor Hutchins noted. "If we could provide them as much lead-time as possible, it would benefit everyone concerned." In other business, a bid proposal was reviewed regarding track replacement on a town-owned snowmobile trail grooming machine. A recommendation of acceptance was deferred to Rich Clawson of the Parks and Recreation Department. The results of a recent USDA compliance review were presented to the board, and Supervisor Hutchins noted the town was currently in full compliance following a minor parking area sign revision. After considerable efforts on both sides of the issue, Hutchins announced a March 6 meeting with representatives of New York State DEC regarding the Indian Lake dam hydroelectric project. The meetings purpose will be to discuss the issue surrounding ownership of the dam, and its current inclusion as State Forest Preserve. For the dam project to move forward, a State constitutional amendment may be required, with the intent of divesting the State of legal ownership. "We have the design engineers ready to go," Hutchins added. "We also have the proposed amendment language submitted to the State." The Town of Indian Lake hopes to open a dialog regarding the issue and move the project forward. The next regular meeting of the Indian Lake Town Board will be March 10, at the Indian Lake Town Hall.

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