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Lake Placid’s Main Street overhaul will start next month

A state Department of Transportation employee directs traffic on Main Street in Lake Placid while a road crew cold-patches potholes in January 2020. As the crew made its way down Main Street, traffic was limited to one lane in the work area. (Enterprise photo — Elizabeth Izzo)

LAKE PLACID — An infrastructure overhaul on Main Street is set to begin next month, and local officials used a virtual meeting Thursday to say what residents, business owners and tourists can expect on a day-to-day basis as this $10 million, nearly three-year project unfolds.

A crew from Wilton-based construction company Kubricky Construction is expected to break ground on the Main Street project in the second week of April, according to Highway Superintendent Brad Hathaway. Traffic detours will start to be set up in about a week. This project will continue, off and on depending on the season, through fall 2023. The bulk of the work is expected to be done ahead of the 2023 World University Games.

About 70% of the project costs will be funded by state grants, according to Mayor Craig Randall. But the village has committed up to $3 million toward this project to bridge the funding gap. That local funding would come from “interest-free, long-term funding,” according to Randall. He did not specify what impact on the village tax rate that may or may not have.

Plans for this project have remained largely unchanged since late last year. This streetscape and infrastructure improvement plan is expected to change the aesthetics, water infrastructure, environmental impact, pedestrian experience and on-street parking availability of the Adirondacks’ busiest business district. Village officials have been planning this project for years, securing state grant funding and conducting other financial planning. Over the last few years, that planning has been supplemented by help from the Main Street Task Force.

As part of the project — which includes the section of Main Street between Saranac Avenue and the post office — old water pipes will be rebuilt, the storm drainage system along the street will be redesigned to better protect Mirror Lake from stormwater runoff, and the street’s look will change with new sidewalks, new seating, more visible crosswalks and green space.

Altogether, the street will lose three parking spaces. The north end of the street will lose 12 spaces, the south end will lose six, the center of the street will gain seven, and eight will be added to the municipal parking lots. The parking aspect of this project is what brought opposition from some business owners during the planning process. Randall has alluded to a separate project that’s being discussed involving a possible parking structure at the upper municipal lot across from NBT Bank, but he declined to offer specifics on Thursday, saying it was too early to share details.

At the north end of the street, the intersection of Main Street, Saranac Avenue and Mirror Lake Drive will be altered in an effort to improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety, plus to make room for a new bioretention basin there to filter stormwater runoff before it enters Mirror Lake. The road will be regraded and widened at that intersection, and the crosswalks will be moved to safer places.

Construction will halt in July and August, on weekends, on holidays and the days before holidays. Community Development Commission Chair Dean Dietrich said the construction season will also end before peak fall tourism weekends.

On construction days, crews will start setting up at 6 a.m. Work will start at 7 a.m. and finish by 5 p.m. The part of the road being worked on will be filled in at the end of each day so it’s usable, according to Dietrich. Construction crews will work on Main Street in sections.

This spring, the first work to be done will be in the central municipal lot on Main Street; sidewalk and curb upgrades from the Summit Hotel to the High Peaks Resort; and water main and stormwater infrastructure work starting at the north end of the street.

This summer’s schedule is still up in the air, but the construction company has suggested that crews work on trenching for the new green space and stormwater basin upgrades at One Main park.

The installation of traffic signs, road paving and sealing will be the last to be completed, in fall 2023.

A traffic plan put together by the state Department of Transportation calls for thru-traffic to be diverted from Main Street onto Old Military Road and Sentinel Road. During the construction season, Main Street will be reduced to one lane, northbound (toward Saranac Avenue). Southbound traffic (toward the Olympic Center) will be diverted, one way, onto Hillcrest Avenue. The short section of Main Street between the post office and the Crowne Plaza on Olympic Drive will be two-way. Randall said he’s been told the Placid Xpress trolley service should be back up and running in April. He will not be mayor by that point, however. His three terms are up, and on Tuesday Art Devlin was elected as mayor for the next fur years.

The village plans to update its website and social media pages with construction information. The village also plans to send out daily construction forecast emails to those who sign up for its mailing list. The Adirondack Daily Enterprise and the Lake Placid News will have frequent updates on the Main Street project as it unfolds.

The village plans to post its full presentation on the Main Street project, shown during the virtual meeting on Thursday, on its website on Friday at http://villageoflakeplacid.ny.gov/content/Generic/View/141.

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