Ironman prompts repairs to Route 73

KEENE - With one of Essex County's biggest tourism events on the horizon, outcry for the condition of some major highways is inducing action by the state.

The New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced that a 2.5-mile long stretch of Route 73, is scheduled to be re-surfaced beginning in late-June or early-July. The road will be resurfaced between Stagecoach Rock and the beginning of the three-lane section west of Keene, known as the Cascades.

The project was scheduled after local officials had become concerned about deteriorating road condition for both motorists and for the athletes training and competing in the July 26 Ironman race.

James McKenna, president of the Lake Placid/Essex County Visitors Bureau, said the repairs are the result of a tremendous effort from representatives in both state and local government.

"A great deal of credit goes to Major Richard Smith, the commander of the Troop "B" State Police headquarters in Ray Brook, for bringing this to the attention of the state, county and local officials as a public safety issue for the athletes and motoring public that share most of the roadways used during the Ironman," said McKenna. "This road also serves as a 'first impression' of what visitors have when they visit the region."

The resurfacing work is scheduled to be done in time for the 11th annual Ironman Triathlon on July 26. The event traditionally brings in 2,200 athletes and their friends and families to the region, generating approximately $10 million in revenue for local businesses.

North Elba town supervisor Roby Politi said race organizers had suggested the possibility of the event moving out of Lake Placid due to the poor condition of the roads.

With that in mind, the Essex County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution at their June 1 meeting urging the DOT to make repairs to both the Cascade Lakes section of Route 73 and Route 86 through Jay and Wilmington. Both are major traffic arteries to the Lake Placid region.

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