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Concerns over Etown bridge raised to DOT head

A log truck starts to make its way over the Boquet River Bridge near the Intersection of Route 9N and Lincoln Pond Road in Elizabethtown. Within the next week, the New York State Department of Transportation will be closing the upstream side of the bridge after a recent inspection found significant damage. A three-light traffic control system will be in place to alternate the flow of traffic for about the next year.

A log truck starts to make its way over the Boquet River Bridge near the Intersection of Route 9N and Lincoln Pond Road in Elizabethtown. Within the next week, the New York State Department of Transportation will be closing the upstream side of the bridge after a recent inspection found significant damage. A three-light traffic control system will be in place to alternate the flow of traffic for about the next year. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— Concerns over the length of time an Elizabethtown Bridge will be partially closed were heard by the head of the New York Department of Transportation last week.

While in attendance at the press conference announcing the renovations of the Whiteface Veteran’s Memorial Highway Nov. 20, DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald said she would ask members of her team to look over the proposed closure scheduled for the Fisher Bridge, located near the intersection of Route 9N and Lincoln Pond Road in Elizabethtown.

“We are trying to get projects done in an efficient way to the greatest extent possible,” McDonald said. “We have not been able to do that for all of our projects and we will go back and look at the Elizabethtown project to see if there are any ways it can be expedited.”

The DOT recently red-flagged the bridge which will be reduced to one alternating lane of traffic, controlled by traffic signals — because a recent regularly scheduled inspection revealed deterioration in one of the bridge’s beams.

DOT said the bridge is scheduled to be replaced in 2014, with the one-lane traffic pattern being in place until completion of the project, which is expected to take until the end of the season. Overall, the bridge is expected to be a one-lane thoroughfare for the next 12 months.

Elizabethtown Supervisor Margaret Bartley expressed her concern to McDonald that increased traffic would be a major concern during times when the Adirondack Northway needed to be shut down.

“During the winter, we have tractor-trailers constantly jack-knifing and closing down the interstate,” Bartley said. “My concern would be all of these big trucks that would be re-routed and come down toward that bridge at high speed and taking the sharp turns. What needs to happen is having the detour go between Exits 30 and 32 instead of Exit 31.”

For up-to-date travel information, call 511 or visit 511NY.org.

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