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Bridge and road project gets $6.1 million; more money expected

LAKE PLACID - Essex County supervisors passed a resolution last week freeing-up $6.1 million for bridge and road construction in the town of North Elba.

The funds will pay for roadwork and the replacement of a bridge on Old Military Road on the outskirts of Lake Placid. The construction is expected to take place between Caroline Avenue and the Lake Placid Elementary School.

Essex County DPW Superintendent Fred Buck said he anticipates the project will receive additional funding when the second round of stimulus money becomes available.

"We submitted for three projects to be considered for this round of the stimulus money and two have made the short list," Buck said. "The two accepted were the Lewis Bridge project in Wilmington and the Blue Ridge Road in North Hudson."

Buck added the North Elba project was rejected due to time constraints.

"The right-of-way acquisition and permitting put it beyond the deadline," he said.

Currently, Buck is waiting for details pertaining to the guidelines for the second round of stimulus funding, at which point he plans to resubmit the North Elba proposal.

The Lewis Bridge project in Wilmington will replace an old bridge on Haselton Road and is estimated at $2.2 million, while the second project will overlay a 16-mile stretch of road from North Hudson to Newcomb. That project costs $6.1 million and includes 35,000 feet of new guide rail. These are the first shovel-ready projects in Essex County to receive funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed last month by President Barack Obama.

Buck also told supervisors state legislators are expected to vote whether or not to restore 2009-10 Consolidated Highway Improvement Program funds to last year's levels.

Gov. David Paterson's Executive Budget calls for the money to be restored, but Buck said it is now in the hands of state lawmakers. Buck joined nearly 600 state highway superintendents in Albany last week in an effort to lobby those legislators.

"I think we just about hit every legislator that we could," Buck said. "I think it sounds pretty good from what we are hearing."

In other DPW business, Buck said county road crews have been taking advantage of the weather, patching roads in Moriah, Crown Point, Ticonderoga, Lake Placid, Westport, Wilmington and Willsboro.

Plans to replace the River Road Bridge on County Route 18 in St. Armand are progressing, Buck added.

"We hope to bid this project by early summer," he said. "This bridge has one of the worst ratings in the entire county."

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