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.
For the next year, Elizabethtown will no longer be a one-light town, but not because of growth.
The New York State Department of Transportation red-flagged the bridge over the Boquet River located at the base of the intersection of Route 9N and Lincoln Pond Road.
“Motorists are advised that the Route 9N bridge over the Boquet River in Elizabethtown ... will be reduced to one alternating lane controlled by traffic signals beginning next week,” a statement from the DOT said. “The lane reduction is needed 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.
“I would ask everyone to be very patient,” Elizabethtown Supervisor Margaret Bartley said. “Right now, there is no option not to do it. We talked about the reconstruction part of this plan over the summer with the state and engineers, but now their most recent inspection shows there is a huge issue with the upstream side of the bridge and it has to be closed on that side.”
Bartley said the bridge is perhaps the most vital in the town, providing passage into the hamlet for cars coming from towns in Eastern Essex County.
“It is a major roadway for county employees coming from Westport and Moriah,” Bartley said. “When there are accidents on the interstate, this is where they redirect the traffic through. My concern from that is all of the big trucks that come through.”
Bartley said she is also concerned about the amount of signage that will be in place coming into Elizabethtown.
“Exiting town is flat,” Bartley said. “Coming into Elizabethtown from Westport and Moriah is where there could be some concern, especially with the slope off of Lincoln Pond Road. I hope that lights will be positioned in a way to give people adequate time to stop.”
Essex County Department of Public Works Director Anthony LaVigne shared Bartley’s concern about the intersection.
“I hope they take that into consideration in terms of the sloping and other issues that can arise there,” he said. “People have to stop there coming in from Lincoln Pond anyway, but they will have signage to let people know there may be delays.”
LaVigne said that state DOT officials will determine how long traffic light changes will take place based on traffic patterns throughout the day.
Bartley said motorists should use proper planning to ensure a safe and timely route to work.
“People are going to have to factor this in for the next year coming to work,” she said. “We have 500-600 people coming into and out of this town daily, and they are just going to have to factor in more time.”