JAY - Two state highways leading into the village of Jay are getting a much-needed facelift.
The New York State Department of Transportation has begun work on a section of Route 86 just west of the intersection with Route 9N. Work began on Aug. 17 and is expected to be finished by the end of the week.
The project was a high priority after a large culvert collapsed under the road on July 3. A temporary repair using a metal plate allowed the road to stay open until more extensive work can be done.
"We've been after the DOT for a couple of years to try and get work done on that road," said Jay town supervisor Randy Douglas.
Work included replacing the old culvert with a new reinforced concrete pipe 54 inches in diameter, restoring the substructure and pavement.
The section of road remained closed during construction. Working with the town, the DOT set up detours on Springfield Road for traffic to and from Wilmington and determined special routes for residents and emergency vehicles to access the closed section of road.
Douglas said the road closure may be inconvenient for some, but was necessary.
"It was a safety issue," Douglas added, stating that the road had been undermined by deteriorating culverts, a problem exacerbated by the rainy summer.
In the neighboring town of Black Brook, another major travel route is is undergoing repairs as well.
A 0.6 mile section of Route 9N in AuSable Forks, adjacent to the bridge leading into Jay, will be reconstructed using $2.5 million from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
"It's been needed for years," said Douglas, who said requests have been made for repairs to that road for nearly 20 years. "This was something Ron Stafford was working on when he was alive and in the Senate."
Included in the contract, which was awarded to Luck Brothers Inc. of Plattsburgh, are provisions to replace storm drainage and add landscaping and aesthetic treatments. It is expected to be completed in the fall of 2010.
"Anything they can do to improve the gateway to our main street is more than welcome," said Douglas.
Of the $1.1 billion in federal stimulus funds New York State received for highway and bridge projects, a total investment of $34 million in is expected to be certified for North Country communities.
"Highways that traverse and link the scenic, close-knit communities of the North Country are important to the area's vitality and identity," said DOT Region 1 Director R. Carey Babyak. "This project will provide a safe, functional highway that blends in with, and becomes part of, the community it serves."