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Bobsled Run Road will be paved in spring

LAKE PLACID – With the repavement of a 1.1-mile road, the state Olympic Regional Development Authority and the annual Ironman Lake Placid triathlon will receive a critical improvement.

On a visit to the state Department of Transportation’s bridge construction site across from the Olympic ski jumps, state Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew Driscoll announced that a stretch of Bobsled Run Road will be paved in time for September 2017’s Ironman 70.3, a half Ironman-length triathlon Lake Placid will host in addition to its full-length one in July.

Driscoll said the plan is to complete the paving next spring. The improvement is critical to ORDA, as the paved road is an improvement on a stretch of highly weathered road leading to the Olympic Bobsled Complex, the Mount Van Hoevenberg Cross-Country Ski Center and the Olympic Biathlon Center.

The pavement may be bigger news for the annual Ironman events, though, as with it the course for both the triathlons. Race Director Greg Borzilleri said Tuesday that the bike portion of the race will go out and back on Bobsled Run Road. The stretch will displace the Haselton Road spur in Wilmington.

“Ironman is an integral part of the North Country’s economy,” Driscoll said. “And this partnership will be a win for for competitors fans and visitors.”

The partnership Driscoll speaks of is between the state, ORDA, Essex County, the town of North Elba, the village of Lake Placid and the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, as an undetermined amount of funding will be raised through a cooperative effort between the parties.

Borzilleri said officials from each organization met in the spring to discuss the possibility of paving the road to help ORDA and Ironman. He added that parking lots that extend off the road, including the one by the cross-country ski center, will also be paved. One of the course’s aid stations will also be re-located to Bobsled Run Road, the station that has for the past 19 years been outside of the Cascade Inn near the Olympic Ski Jumps on Route 73.

“We have an out and back in Wilmington on Haselton Road,” Borzilleri said of the Ironman course. “That’s kind of a hairpin turn. We come down a hill, and then we come out back. So there’s athletes coming in really hot and taking a right, and then there’s coming back out of that turn to take another right to go into Lake Placid. That’s always a little dicey area. We’ve got to slow people down, and they’ve got to make a really sharp turn. So what we are going to do is replace that with the Bob Run road, for both races.

“When you make the right-hand turn on the Bob Run Road, where it’s relatively flat, there’s not that much of a downhill.”

There are also fewer houses on Bobsled Run Road than on Haselton.

“So we are trying to lessen the impacts on the residents so there are no bikes on that road during race day,” Borzilleri said.