Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the ahead of schedule reopening of Route 73, which had been closed as a result of severe damage sustained by Hurricane Irene. In the Town of Keene, the Governor was joined by local elected officials and Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald for a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the highways reopening. The road will reopen to traffic at noon today.
Route 73 is a vital highway connecting residents and businesses in the North Country and todays reopening is an important step in our recovery from Hurricane Irene, Governor Cuomo said. Many communities here in Essex County were hit hard by the storm, and we must continue to help towns like Keene recover and rebuild. I want to thank the hardworking men and women for coming together to get this project done for the people of the North Country.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, Governor Cuomo directed the Department of Transportation and contractors working on recovery projects to focus their resources on immediate reconstruction in order to expedite the highways reopening. The highway was initially expected to take months to reopen, and the Governor announced on September 5th that one lane would open in ten days, and the other lane ten days later. The reconstruction project was completed ahead of schedule, and effective at noon today both lanes of Route 73 are open.
The reconstruction efforts brought together a full force of state resources. Approximately 150,000 tons of stone were used and construction workers logged a total of 2,700 hours during the project. Equipment used included 27 contractor trucks, additional DOT trucks, 3 excavators, 2 light plants, 2 vibratory rollers, and various tree and debris removal machinery.
Senator Betty Little said, "Today is a big day for all of us in the North Country. Route 73 is an essential part of our regions infrastructure, and its reopening ahead of schedule will make all of our lives easier. Governor Cuomo made reconstruction of Route 73 a top priority, and because of his leadership and commitment to rebuilding after Hurricane Irene, communities that depend so heavily on this road will now be able to get back to business as usual. The reopening of Route 73 will be instrumental as we continue with our recovery efforts and for this we are all thankful."
Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward said, "In the North Country, businesses and residents rely on Route 73 as an important connection for our rural towns. Its reopening will reestablish this vital connection. Governor Cuomo has not only delivered on his promises to the Adirondack region, but with the repair of both lanes completed ahead of schedule, his leadership is again greatly appreciated."