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Officials, business owners, residents, discuss proposed Potsdam bridge project

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POTSDAM — Residents, business owners and officials voiced their concerns to presenters Tuesday at an informational meeting on the proposed state Department of Transportation Maple Street bridge project. Attendees voiced concerns ranging from sidewalk repairs on Fall Island to snow removal after repairs are done.

Creighton Manning Engineering, Albany, along with DOT, will conduct upgrades and repairs to the aging bridges. The main priority will be to repair and update bridge sidewalks. They also will widen road shoulders, restore aesthetics of the bridges and install new lighting, which will be paid for by DOT and owned and maintained by the village. Sidewalks will be widened to 5 feet.

“The village comprehensive plan and the DWRP call for a multimodal approach, to be able to accommodate all types of users,” project manager Kelley Kircher said.

Once construction begins in the spring, travel on the bridges will be limited to one lane, although planners will try to reduce this restriction when colleges are in session.

The project is expected to be completed in the fall of 2015.

The plan also will remove a railing between the bridge sidewalk and the roadway to comply with DOT standards, helping bicyclists to ride closer to sidewalks. This was a concern of village resident Susan E. Powers, who said removal of the railing would cause snow to pile up on sidewalks when plows come through, making them impassable. On bridge sidewalks, she said, there is nowhere to remove snow to. Village officials said snow removal would be easier with the railing gone.

Evans & White Ace Hardware owner John P. White voiced concerns about sidewalk deterioration in front of his business on Fall Island, asking CME representatives for help replacing what St. Lawrence Gas did not in 1980. Village Planning and Development Director Frederick J. Hanss said the sidewalk is “straight down to the rebar in several spots.” Mr. White said he will replace the sidewalk if no one else will.

“I don’t want to do it if I don’t have to, but I’m going to do it,” he said. CME said only spot repairs would be done to sidewalks and curbs on the island.

A St. Lawrence Gas representative at the meeting said the company was interested in working on the problem. “We’d like to take an opportunity to inspect that gas line,” he said, of the section in front of Mr. White’s business.

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