State Route 73, which is still closed between Keene Valley and the Adirondack Northway (I-87) due to storm damage, will reopen to one lane of traffic in 9 days, on Sept. 15.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this in Keene Monday.
"Areas like Keene were hit especially hard by Hurricane Irene, but together we will rebuild better than before," Cuomo said in a press release. "Though damage is severe in many places on Route 73, the road is a lifeline to the North Country and its reopening is an essential step in our recovery. I am proud to be here in Keene with so many New Yorkers volunteering to help their neighbors during these difficult times, and I look forward to our continued progress."
A state Department of Transportation worker drives a loader while making repairs to the area along state Route 73 in downtown Keene Monday.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Cuomo said Route 73 would be opened to two lanes two days after opening to one lane on Saturday, Sept. 17, according to the governor's spokesman Josh Vlastro. He said he would direct the state Department of Transportation and contractors working on recovery projects to focus their resources on immediate reconstruction in order to reopen the road as soon as possible.
More than a week after the storm, which caused widespread power outages and millions of dollars in damage in Essex County, power has been restored to almost everybody statewide, according to the Associated Press. A number of other major roads that were closed, such as state Route 9N between Keene and Jay, have also reopened.
Also, due to volunteer help in rebuilding, High Falls Gorge in Wilmington has been able to reopen a trail to the waterfalls, according to the private tourist attraction's Facebook page.
Cuomo was joined in Keene by hundreds of volunteers who came to Keene and other storm-damaged communities throughout the state Sunday and Monday, to with the cleanup as part of Cuomo's "Labor for Your Neighbor" initiative.
While in the Adirondacks, Cuomo also visited Saranac Lake. Village resident Jason Smith said he was talking to a group of friends in front of the Blue Moon Cafe on Main Street when two black Chevy Tahoes pulled up.
"I was standing there, and he got out of one of the Tahoes and went into Blue Moon," Smith said. "He came out a couple minutes later and stopped to talk to us. I shook his hand, and I said, 'I think it's great that you keep coming to Saranac Lake.'"
Smith said Cuomo talked about the flood recovery effort in Keene and said the state will be "working around the clock" to help those affected.
"Then he got in the Tahoe and left," Smith said. "He seemed like an awesome guy. Even if you don't like his politics, it's great that he's coming to our town."
Cuomo also bought a few things at Blue Line Sports in downtown Saranac?Lake.
Also, a federal Disaster Recovery Center opened Sunday at the Jay Community Center, which had already been the site of a shelter and kitchen for people displaced by the storm. The center will be staffed with state and federal disaster recovery specialists who can answer people's questions and hurricane assistance, as well as Small Business Administration representatives who can answer people's questions about the low-interest federal loans available to help people recover.
"The DRC is a one-stop resource center for storm-affected residents and small business owners to obtain information and services from county, state and federal agencies," Jay town Supervisor Randy Douglas said in a press release.
The Disaster Recovery Center will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. until further notice.
Senior Staff Writer Chris Knight contributed to this report.