PLATTSBURGH — Work on the Cumberland Head connector road is currently on time and on budget. "So far we've been doing pretty good with the schedule and haven't run into any major problems,'' Clinton County Highway Superintendent Al Rascoe, said.
Work on the $8 million connector road began earlier this year on the parkway area of Route 314 which leads from Route 9 to the existing perimeter road around the peninsula.
The connector road, when finished, will give motorists a direct route from the ferry landing dock of the Lake Champlain Transportation Company to Route 9.
Motorists now have to negotiate the curvy and narrow perimeter road, which has been blamed for numerous accidents, especially with large trucks, over the years.
Residents have long lobbied for a connector road and their wishes were granted when then State Sen. Ronald B. Stafford, the chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, was able to secure the bulk of the necessary funding in 2002 shortly before he retired.
Design of the road and environmental study of the area has taken the better part of the past three years.
Kubricky Construction Corp. of Glens Falls was awarded the mainline construction contract in February.
The new road will feature lanes of traffic leading to and from the ferry landing with a separate bike lane on the bay side of the road.
"We may start some paving next week in the area near Jefferson and Kensington,'' Rascoe said.
As part of the project, the county was required to replace about 14 acres of wetlands.
That is being done on a stretch land to the north of the main construction.
Rascoe said workers found a pleasant surprise when they were digging the new pond areas.
"They found that the water table was about three feet higher than we expected and that meant we didn't have to do all that digging,'' he said.
The discovery will wind up saving the county about $160,000 in digging costs, Rascoe said.
"We're about six weeks ahead of schedule on the wetlands portion now too,'' he said.
"By the end of August it should be complete.''
The ferry company will also be re-aligning its dock area in conjunction with the building of the new road.
Rascoe said that work should be done by the end of October.
He added that the county fielded some complaints when work first began on the parkway as motorists were confused over which lanes were open during construction.
"But we've pretty much stayed out of people's way as best we can on the head,'' he said.
The entire project is expected to be completed by November 2006.
After that, the Town of Plattsburgh will take over maintenance of the perimeter road.
Town Supervisor Andrew Abdallah said the perimeter road needs some improvements.
"We will talk with the county about that and negotiate what can be done,'' Abdallah said.
"We don't want to obligate the taxpayers of the town for a road that needs major work before we take it over.''