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Anxiety grows as roads, bridges crumble

Lawmakers from across the North Country are growing increasingly anxious over the condition of the state's public infrastructure.

From Lake Placid to Willsboro, highly utilized state highways are looking more like decrepit back country roads.

But as the state continues to climb out of its fiscal mess, it's looking less likely that roads and bridges will get the sort of attention they need in order to keep the public safe and to keep tourists driving to the area.

In Wilmington, town Supervisor Randy Preston says the old stone bridge is now on a state watch list.

The bridge was built in 1935 using granite from a nearby quarry - the same granite workers used to construct the Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway.

But state inspectors recently discovered that the stone bridge consists of the same cement mixture that led transportation officials to condemn the old Crown Point bridge.

"Probably three and a half weeks ago now, they showed up and they actually did some core samples and it was like, 'Uh oh,' then they realized it's in a serious state of disrepair," Preston said. "And I got the phone call that there's no fix."

Preston says the bridge must be replaced altogether - a large-scale repair project won't do the trick.

"But there's no money to replace it - maybe five years from now," he said. "My biggest fear is, they're gonna come in next year and continue with their inspection because now it's on the watch list, so to speak, and all of a sudden we're going to have another Crown Point situation."

Wilmington's problems don't stop there. Preston says the town is anticipating a five-year delay before the state steps in to take care of the stone bridge - in the meantime, large truck traffic is being detoured onto smaller town roads.

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