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Lake Street rebuild

From left, Dustin Martin and John Sweeney stand on Lake Street pointing out all the problem areas construction this summer will seek to remedy. The utility pole they stand next to will be moved because it obstructs the sidewalk, which is crumbling. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

SARANAC LAKE — As village Manager John Sweeney and Department of Public Works Superintendent Dustin Martin walked down Lake Street, they pointed out all the problems: The road is crumbling, sloping off into the sidewalk; the sidewalk is crumbling, uneven and at points obstructed by utility poles; and the sewer and water lines underground predate World War II.

A $1 million project this summer aims to fix all that.

This work, Sweeney says, will interfere with traffic, water and possible electric utilities as it’s completed this summer, but he says the final product — a new street with new and improved infrastructure — will be worth it.

It’s a tough area to work in, Sweeney said. It has minimal access, many homes and a school nearby. The road will be closed except for local access for most of the summer, and even local access will be limited at some points, he said.

“It will be a definite inconvenience,” Sweeney said.

People won’t be able to drive through areas of the road at certain times, and residents of side streets can expect intermittent water cutoffs for a few hours at a time. Sweeney said the village may provide temporary water spigots if needed.

Bids for the work started coming in Monday morning, and the village will award those contracts on May 3.

Sweeney said construction is planned to start in early July after the school year ends and last until October, though the major work will be finished earlier in the fall.

The work will start at the western intersection of Lake Street and Petrova Avenue — in front of the the Volunteers of America Adirondack Apartments — and travel east 1,100 feet to where Balsam Street intersects Lake Street. Dewey Lane and Jenkins Street both jut off of Lake Street in the construction zone.

Sweeney said with 1,100 feet of construction priced at around $1.1 million, that comes out to around $1,000 per foot.

He said if funds allow, he’d like to continue construction farther down Lake Street.

Funding for this project comes from a $930,000 grant from the state Office of Community Renewal and a zero-interest loan for $80,000 through the state Environmental Facilities Corporation.

Some cost may be taken on by the village through the loan, Sweeney said. It would be minimal and paid back over several years, he said.

The village got this OCR grant years ago but only recently found a place to spend it.

“This grant was originally intended for Payeville (Lane),” Sweeney said. “Then we found out it didn’t qualify after they awarded us the grant, so this is the project we turned it into.”

He was happy with where the money ended up, saying Lake Street is a good opportunity to use it, as much of the infrastructure is “original” and dates back to the early 1900s.

“I laugh because we’re hooking onto the new stuff that’s 50 years old. The old stuff is 100 and change,” Sweeney said. “They’re replacing everything. It’s a complete rebuild.”

Martin said the DPW has had issues with the lines before as sediment buildup clogs water flow.

He had hoped to install plastic piping instead of the usual ductile iron — like the village is using for stormwater and sanitary sewer pipes — but the COVID-19 pandemic and a two-week power outage in Texas this year have driven up the prices of plastic resin.

Martin said Texas supplies 10% of world’s plastic supply and that the power outage in February shut down resin manufacturing there. The cost of building materials is already high as the pandemic has disrupted supply lines and manufacturing, and the price of plastic is up even more now.

The sidewalk is also in need of expansion.

“We’ve got a sidewalk we can’t maintain,” Sweeney said.

It is too narrow to run the sidewalk plows on, and electric poles stick out of the sidewalk at points. The new sidewalk will be 5 feet wide and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The village is working with National Grid, which will relocate several utility poles from the sidewalk on the north side of the street to the south side of the street.

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