LAKE PLACID - A $7.4 million overhaul of Old Military Road is in full swing.
Essex County Highway Superintendent Tony LaVigne said the project is in "full construction mode." He said Old Military Road will be closed from state Route 86 to Mill Pond Drive until October.
"The season is so short," LaVigne said Thursday. "We need to get as much done as we can. We need to get it winterized, and the asphalt plants generally close by Oct. 1. That's the reason for (the closure). And the weather starts getting in the way."
A flagger directs traffic from Lake Placid’s Old Military Road onto Mill Pond Drive Wednesday, the first day of a two-month construction closure of the busy bypass.
(Photo for the Enterprise — Richard Rosentreter)
Rifenburg Construction Inc. of Troy is the contractor on the project, although the county is overseeing the work. LaVigne said the company will reconstruct and rebuild the road, replace the bridge over the Chubb River and realign Riki Hill near the Lake Placid firehouse.
Preliminary work has already been completed, including installation of a new water line under the Chubb River, brush clearing and excavation for a new stormwater management system.
LaVigne noted that the closure of Old Military Road was timed so that it didn't coincide with big summer events like the Ironman triathlon, rugby weekend and the Summit lacrosse tournament.
Motorists are being detoured through the village on Saranac Avenue and Wesvalley Road. LaVigne said the county will install a traffic light at the intersection of those roads to "help organize traffic better."
Lake Placid village Mayor Craig Randall said there's been a "significant increase" in traffic downtown, and near the intersection of Wesvalley Road and Saranac Avenue, since construction began on Old Military.
"I think we're all aware of the fact that Old Military carries a significant amount of traffic around the village," he said. "For the next two months, we're certainly going to get a strong sense of that.
"It's something we discussed early on because we knew that Main Street is congested as it is. We knew it was going to be difficult, and the only thing we can do to accommodate the construction is to be aware of it."
Randall urged motorists to take a little extra time when traveling around the community.
"We're all looking forward to completion of that highway," he said. "It should be much safer, and should carry that volume of traffic more efficiently."