Keene Town Supervisor William "Bill" Ferebee talks about the re-opening of Route 73 as, from left, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, state senator Elizabeth "Betty" Little, Deputy Secretary of State for Local Government Dede Scozzafava and state assemblywoman Teresa Sayward stand behind him.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo this morning announced that both lanes of Route 73 between Keene Valley and the Adirondack Northway (Exit 30) are now open.
“We’ve made remarkable progress in a very short period of time,” he said.
The announcement was made at 11 a.m. on Route 73 near the town of Keene hamlet of St. Huberts only seven days after the governor promised the highway would be open in 10 days.
“Over the weekend, I was at an event and a lady came up to me and told me that she heard the road was going to be opened this week,” state Sen. Elizabeth “Betty” Little said. “I didn’t think that could happen, but then I got the call yesterday from the governor’s office and here we are.”
“This is a great example of partnership between the Department of Transportation and our states contractors,” Joan McDonald, commissioner of the DOT, said. “Gov. Cuomo made it clear to all of us that the reconstruction of Route 73 should be a top priority.”
“I want to thank all of the DOT workers who really did an extraordinary job on this,” Cuomo said. “There is a lot of work still to be done, but we have really made great progress, and I could see that as I flew in over the region.”
Cuomo said that the efforts of recovery shows that “government actually worked” in terms of assessing the damage and putting a plan in place to help the residents of the state, including Essex County and the Adirondacks.
“The Adirondacks are open for business,” Cuomo said. “We want to get that word out throughout the state.”
“It’s exciting to see that we are now going to have this road open,” Little said.
“The work that has been done jointly by (Keene Supervisor) Bill Ferebee, the chairman of the board (Jay’s Randall “Randy” Douglas) and the governor has been amazing,” state Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward said.
Ferebee said that he was grateful on behalf of the town for the support he had received from the local and state representatives.
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“They have been very supportive during this time of need,” Ferebee said. “The governor has shown that we are not forgotten here in the North Country and in Essex County.”
Crews from around the state converged on the town of Keene to rebuild bridges and sections of the highway destroyed by flash flooding during Tropical Storm Irene, which hit the area Aug. 28.
While Route 73 was closed, traffic to and from the Adirondack Northway was detoured through Elizabethtown on Route 9N.