Letter earns $1.8M road fix for Bloomingdale-SL highway

BLOOMINGDALE — If you travel the 7-mile stretch of New York State Route 3 between Bloomingdale and Saranac Lake, you know it’s bad. Stippled with potholes and freckled with tar patches that smoothed the surface for a while — but don’t anymore — the road is a jarring experience for anyone traveling faster than 15 mph.

Town of St. Armand Supervisor Dean Montroy and Highway Superintendent Don Snickles decided to do something about it. They pestered state officials until they got a response. The state Department of Transportation recently announced it will spend $1.8 million to fix the road.

“It was horrible conditions this winter,” said Montroy. “I kept calling state Senator Betty Little’s office.”

Montroy said he was told, given the usual timeline of state highway projects, it could be 2020 before the state got around to fixing the road. Meanwhile, the road is beating up the St. Armand plow trucks.

Montroy and Snickles wrote a letter to Mark Bonfrey of the DOT, detailing the problems with the road. They also said, if the road weren’t fixed, the town’s contract to plow and salt the road should have a rider stating that DOT would reimburse the town for damage to its trucks.

“I called Jim Dugan at the Essex County DOT and asked him if he could come back around and take a look at Route 3,” said Montroy. After Dugan looked at it, he suggested Montroy and Snickles write to the DOT and explain how the road damage was affecting the county.

“He said the letter was perfect.”

The money is part of a statewide road repair program put forward by the governor’s office to remedy roads affected by harsh winter conditions. The project, which is slated to begin later this summer, will involve resurfacing Route 3 from Saranac Lake through Bloomingdale to the line with Franklin County and the town of Franklin.

Montroy said he hasn’t gotten a timeline yet, but the letter did the trick.

“We’ve had dozens of complaints and know of a couple [non-town] vehicles that have had flat tires due directly to the potholes,” he wrote in the letter.

Montroy noted that the road is heavily traveled by Bloomingdale residents going to Saranac Lake as well as employees and customers of a dozen businesses, including Trudeau Sand and Gravel and the Saranac Lake school bus garage.