A tale of two bridges

The winter months are fast approaching with all of their roadway dangers — snow, slush, black ice and generally unsafe driving conditions.

In the town of Elizabethtown, especially at the end of Lincoln Pond Road, the elements have always made for a challenging commute into the county seat. Now, that commute will be made a little more challenging.

The New York State Department of Transportation announced this week that the bridge at the base of the intersection of Lincoln Pond Road and Route 9N will be bottle-necked to one lane, watched over by a three way traffic signal system.

The lights will be placed at an intersection that, in the best of conditions, is one of the trickiest in Essex County. On the one side, you have a sharp slope coming down from Lincoln Pond Road, with several sharp and winding curves with varying elevations, making it hard to see if there is a car stopped in front of you until you are almost on top of it.

On the other side, you have a pair of severely sharp turns coming in from Westport and I-87, again allowing for limited visibility even if drivers are operating their vehicles at a safe speed.

The intersection is one of the busiest in the county. Many of the county’s 500 employees come from towns like Westport, Moriah, Crown Point and Ticonderoga, using the two roads as their way into and from work. Anyone that has driven into Elizabethtown between 7:30 and 7:50 a.m. knows how long the wait currently is at the blinking light at the intersection of 9 and 9N. Now, the wait will be compounded at the new lights, where cars from three different directions will have to wait their turn.

With all of this, the key words for drivers are going to have to be patience and safety. Drivers are going to have to have patience with each other and with the lights, which will be programmed based on traffic patterns throughout the day. Drivers are also going to have to make sure that they mind their speed and keep their eyes on the road ahead of them. While everyone who drives into Elizabethtown knows the patterns and what to expect, all of those patterns are now going to change and every driver must exercise caution to make sure they keep everyone else safe. This means slow down, keep you eyes off your phone or mirror, and be mindful of the weather conditions.

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