August 24, 2018
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Completion of $7.6 Million Nash Boulevard Bridge Over State Route 26 at Fort Drum

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Improvements Enhance On-Base Mobility for Soldiers, Ease Traffic Congestion Along Busy State Route in Jefferson County


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the completion of a $7.6 million highway project that improves mobility for the soldiers at Fort Drum and eases traffic congestion for travelers along State Route 26 in the North Country. The project included the reconstruction of Nash Boulevard on Fort Drum and the construction of a new bridge over State Route 26, as well as the construction of a roundabout near the Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield.


"Fort Drum is a key economic driver in the North Country, and the Nash Boulevard improvements will make it safer and more convenient to travel on base while at the same time improving traffic flow in the surrounding area," Governor Cuomo said. "We are investing in projects like this across New York State to ensure our highways and bridges are strong and prepared to meet the demands of the future."


The Nash Boulevard project reconstructed approximately one mile of Nash Boulevard and erected a new bridge, connecting the airfield area of the base to the main cantonment area. It will improve transportation operations on Fort Drum by providing direct access between cantonment areas. This will significantly reduce congestion on State Route 26, providing for safer and more efficient traffic flow. The creation of a two-lane, multi-girder bridge over Route 26 will also allow on-base traffic to pass from one side to the other without having to leave the base and again clear security upon reentering.


This portion of Route 26 is a common access point for soldiers reporting to Fort Drum, as well as for commercial deliveries to the facility. Fort Drum, home to the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division, is the largest employer in the North Country.


Governor Cuomo in his 2015 State of the State address announced funding for transportation improvements along Route 26, with the Nash Boulevard project being the second of three projects to be completed there. The first, a $3 million intersection alignment of State Route 26 on Fort Drum, was completed last summer, reconfiguring the Route 26 intersection with Oneida and Ontario avenues to improve safety and reduce congestion. The area contained two intersections, one for traffic entering and one for traffic exiting the base, thus making traffic backups common. The new roadway combines the two intersections into one wider intersection, adding slip ramps and turning lanes to facilitate easier access for drivers.


The third project, scheduled for next year, will construct a slip ramp on northbound U.S. Route 11 at the intersection of State Route 26. It also will make turning lane and signal improvements at the intersection, which is a busy access route to Fort Drum.


New York State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Paul A. Karas said, "Improving Nash Boulevard will enhance safety and reduce congestion on Route 26, making travel on the base more efficient now and into the future. All of these projects are a clear demonstration of Governor Cuomo's support for Fort Drum, the 10th Mountain Division and all they contribute to the state, local community and our national defense."


Major General Walter Piatt, Commanding General, Fort Drum & the 10th Mountain Division said, "As Soldiers, we see bridges as key terrain. If you hold this terrain, you have a decisive advantage over your enemy. As for bridges, we seek to control them before the enemy does. We need them to cross rivers and overcome significant obstacles. I have defended bridges, captured bridges and I have blown bridges up, but I've never accepted one, and I really like accepting one over the previous actions I've had with bridges. This key terrain is a symbol of the unique and wonderful relationship we have at Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division has with the state of New York. Not only does this bridge connect our cantonment area with our airfield, it does much, much more. It connects this post and the 10th Mountain Division to New York, confirming what I know - that New York cares deeply for Soldiers and their families and works hard to make the North Country the best community in the United States. The real key terrain is the people of New York and the North Country. Those who see this bridge from this day forward will see a magnificent structure, but I will always see the commitment of our local representatives who understand the strategic importance of Fort Drum."


Senator Patty Ritchie said, "This new bridge will not only create a more efficient, safer travel flow for military members and their families, but also for our businesses and community members that depend on Route 26 for access to Fort Drum, or as a pass through to get where they need to be. Through this investment, we are ensuring Fort Drum--New York State's largest single-site employer--can continue to partner with our communities and lead our local economy."


Assemblywoman Addie Jenne said, "This is an important upgrade that will make travel on Route 26 and around Ft. Drum much more efficient. We have a unique community relationship with the army installation, and this investment demonstrates our commitment to it and to the soldiers and their families that serve here. It has been impressive to watch the progress on the bridge, and I commend everyone who has worked hard to get it built in such an orderly manner."


Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush said, "This is a smart investment. This reconstruction will make it much easier for our troops to travel from one side of the base to the other without the inconvenience of passing through multiple security checkpoints. This will also ease traffic congestion for all area motorists. Supporting Fort Drum and our brave troops stationed here is simply the right thing to do. It promotes the economic vitality of our region, and I'm pleased we got this done."


Jefferson County Board of Legislators Chairman Scott Gray said, "The completion of the Nash Boulevard Bridge continues the investment by New York State and the commitment of Governor Cuomo to make Fort Drum a more valuable asset both locally and nationally. The bridge eases flow of traffic for military personnel and the general public making the base more user friendly."


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