LAKE PLACID - North Elba Supervisor Roby Politi said New York State has offered to provide the town with a bridge for the Adirondack Loj Road.
Politi met Nov. 23 with officials from the state Department of Transportation, who agreed to grant a 56-foot long and 28-foot-wide bridge to replace a temporary one-lane steel bridge owned by Essex County.
The bridge is currently in Malta, near Saratoga Springs, but Essex County officials have agreed to transport it to the site and install it.
"The town will pay for construction of abutments and the approach of the road to go over the bridge," said Politi, noting that the cost is estimated to be roughly $250,000.
That amounts to a huge savings, Politi said, explaining how the cost of constructing a new bridge was estimated to be between $600,000 and $1 million.
The temporary bridge has been in place since 2006 when the previous bridge over North Meadow Brook was deemed unsafe for traffic. Unlike the temporary bridge, the new bridge will go in the same place as the old one. Politi said this will provide a better line of sight for cars as they approach the bridge.
"It provides additional width and it's a lot more user-friendly," said Politi, adding the railing of the concrete bridge will be low enough to allow motorists to view the riparian valley as they cross it.
Politi said he's been working for over a year to get the state to help with installing a new bridge on the road, which accesses the Adirondack Mountain Club's Heart Lake property and state land visited by more than 60,000 people annually.
"I think the state understands that they are a stakeholder in the maintenance of this road," said Politi. "90 percent of the traffic that goes on it is going either to the Adirondack Loj or to the High Peaks trailheads."
For that reason, Politi and other town officials have been asking the state to take ownership of Adirondack Loj Road. The town has offered to take John Brown road in exchange, but so far the state has been unwilling to make the deal happen. Politi said the exchange is still a possibility, but not likely given the current financial status of the state.
Still, Politi said he's pleased the state has agreed to provide the bridge, which amounts to a huge cost-savings for North Elba.
"I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth," he said.
The plan to replace the bridge must now obtain permits from both the Adirondack Park Agency and the DEC, but Politi doesn't expect there to be any difficulties. If all goes well, he said, the bridge should be installed by sometime next spring.