LAKE PLACID - The state might repave Route 86 between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid later this year.
"We have planned a very robust maintenance treatment ... that will mill off the asphalt and recycle it back into place as a very thick base for a new pavement overlay," state Department of Transportation Regional Director Mary Ivey wrote in a recent letter to North Elba town Supervisor Roby Politi. "If our allocations hold stable through the coming months, the project will take place this construction season."
The poor condition of heavily traveled state roads in the area, such as routes 86 and 73, has long been a concern. The stretch of Route 86 between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid is one of the busiest roads in the Adirondacks, traveled by between 8,000 and 11,500 vehicles every day. Local officials have been complaining about the road conditions to the DOT for years, only to be told no funding is available.
Ivey wrote that the DOT has received numerous inquiries about routes 86 and 73. She wrote they are in need of complete reconstruction, "but that is not a fiscally viable option at this time."
Further details on the planned work couldn't be obtained from the DOT Friday afternoon.
Ivey wrote that Route 73, which runs from Lake Placid through Keene and ends a little before Northway Exit 30, is also being considered for similar repairs as that stretch of Route 86, "and will be ranked and prioritized against numerous other regional candidates for our future paving program. We will continue to maintain this stretch of road as best as we can by patching problem areas and utilizing other maintenance treatments until a more permanent solution can be found."
Ivey's letter was in response to "a couple nasty emails" that, Politi said, he recently sent to her and to DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald.
"That letter was in response to my feelings that they weren't paying attention to our roads," Politi said.
Politi said he hasn't heard any further details from the DOT about the pending work, but that the tone of the letter seems to indicate repairs will happen.
"We can live with that," Politi said. "We'll see if they do it."