ELIZABETHTOWN- They are not getting any better.
Following the recent push by lawmakers in the town of Willsboro to have work done on the section of road over Willsboro Mountain, Essex County ways and means committee chairman Roby Politi of North Elba did not mix any words as he talked about road conditions at the May 31 meeting.
"I would like Essex County via resolution to put the State of New York on notice that the road conditions here in this region are so bad, as documented by the State Police and local DOT representatives, that something needs to be done before someone is killed," Politi said, singling out roads in his jurisdiction.
"I am particularly concerned about the road between Wilmington and Lake Placid, Jay and Lake Placid, and Lake Placid to Saranac Lake," Politi said. "I don't know if any of you have had the opportunity to drive on those roads, and I am sure you all have roads in your particular area that are bad, but it is terrible. They know it, they just are not doing anything about it."
"I think it is very important that we keep putting them on notice," Jay supervisor and county chairman Randy Douglas said. "They need to pay particular attention because a dangerous situation is going to get worse if they don't spend some of the funds to repair them."
Politi said that he was frustrated with the answers that he had received from several agencies.
"I have spoken with DOT," Politi said. "I have spoken with our local DOT representatives and State DOT representatives. I have corresponded with Senator Little. I have spoken to the State Police. Everyone has the same response - they agree that the roads are in atrocious condition, that someone is going to get hurt or there is going to be a bad accident but no one is pushing them to get the work done."
Other supervisors spoke up about their experiences on state roads within the county.
"I certainly concur with you because it was quite mind boggling to me that about a week ago I traveled to Saranac Lake and on the North Elba side they are spending all that money to redo the railroad tracks and about 500-feet from there, there are potholes that are six inches deep, no shoulder left to the road and I concur that it is a dangerous situation," Wilmington supervisor Randy Preston said.
"Willsboro Mountain Road is also pretty bad," Essex supervisor Sharon Boisen said.
Keene supervisor William Ferebee said that he hoped that something could be done on these roads more than just for the bike races and triathlons scheduled to take place on them.
"Our concern is to bring that road up to better conditions for our constituents that travel that road 12 months a year," Ferebee said. "Last year or the year before when we had a road issue it just seemed like the state came forward just before an Ironman and paved that side of the road to make it safer for the bikers."
Douglas said that "a couple" of years ago, he and former Willsboro supervisor Lori Lincoln-Spooner went to see DOT representative Mary Ivy about the situation on county roads.
"At that time they brought out a piece of a bridge that had cracked and said here, this is why we are not fixing your roads on Route 22, Route 86, Route 73 or whatever, it is because our bridges are atrocious throughout New York State and we don't have the money for your roads," Douglas said.
Preston added that he recently had the bridge situation hit close to home.
"I just found out last week that the historic Stone Bridge in the center of Wilmington, the state came and did some core samples and now they tell me it is the same cement that was used in the Crown Point bridge," Preston said. "They lowered the limit to 20 tons and they are hoping it will make it for five years because they have no money to replace it but we are still buying state land that we can't take care of."
Elizabethtown Supervisor Noel Merrihew said that he felt the state should use money currently going toward land purchases for working on the infrastructure within the park.
"I think we have to really press that issue that there is $110 million dollars out there and not for land purchases, we need to take care of what is inside that Park first," Merrihew said. "We really need to press that point because then they can't say we don't have the money, they do have the money, we just need to appropriate it in the correct fashion."