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Anxiety grows as roads, bridges crumble

Bob Bevilacqua owns Carcuzzi, an auto repair shop in Saranac Lake. He says his mechanics work on countless vehicles that have fallen victim to deteriorating roadways.

He notes that for those motorists who commute back and forth daily between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, Route 86 can take a heavy toll financially.

"Anytime you're going down the road and your tire or suspension has an immediate shock like that, the biggest problem you can have is you'll cut a belt in the tire, and then the tire starts to curl and you get a vibration in your car and you have to replace the tire," Bevilacqua said. "If you're driving a four-wheel drive vehicle, it's not just one tire; you have to replace all four. That's quite an expense, ya know?"

In the last few years alone, Bevilacqua, also a member of the Harrietstown Town Council, says he's noticed an uptick in repairs that can be directly attributed to bruising highways.

"I know we've been doing a lot more repairs on coil springs, struts, stabilizer links, all those types of repairs - we've been doing more of those the last couple years than we have in the past," he said. "I don't think it's because the components are being made cheaper. It's because the roads are in such horrible shape."

And while shelling out dollars for car repairs is no fun, the real concern is driver safety, Bevilacqua notes.

"When you're driving down the road, you have to be so conscious of where the potholes are, you're looking right in front of the car, you're not looking down the road like you normally would be," he said. "Your attention, it's like driving while talking on a cell phone, you aren't paying attention to everything going on around you."

Roby Politi has expressed those safety concerns to anyone who will listen - including Major Richard Smith, commander of New York State Police Troop B, headquartered in Ray Brook.

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