Village tries to reassure public about Broadway project

SARANAC LAKE – For eight to 10 weeks this spring, part of downtown Saranac Lake will be a noisy, dusty, traffic-snarling construction zone.

The village and its engineers sought to reassure downtown business owners and residents Wednesday that they’ll do everything they can to minimize the impacts of the project.

“We think we’ve addressed everything, but we want to hear from you guys if we’ve got it all,” village Manager John Sweeney said during the first of two public meetings on the project in the Harrietstown Town Hall auditorium.

Starting April 1, the village plans to replace water and sewer mains along a stretch of Broadway between Dorsey Street and Bloomingdale Avenue. The project also involves putting in new storm drainage, curbs and sidewalk, and reconstructing the road.

The project came up last February after an 80-year-old water main beneath Broadway burst. The main and its lateral lines sprang multiple leaks, which flooded the road and the basement of at least one business. The road was closed for five days until all the leaks could be located and fixed.

Chris Lawton, an engineer with Barton and Loguidice, said changeover in the village water system to a pair of wells was to blame.

“We changed around the way the water system worked,” Lawton said. “The water now comes across the village from the well site up to the tank. What that did is it really forced a lot more water than this main was used to. Because of the break, we took a look at the water main and its age, and said, ‘This really needs to be corrected now.'”

When the road was shut down last winter, it caused a lot of headaches for people, Lawton noted.

“What we’re trying to do is avoid that,” he said. “We want to collect information from you, take suggestions and find out how to make this construction easier on the businesses that front this Broadway section.”

The work will take place during the night, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., Monday through Thursday, during which time the road will be closed to all traffic. From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., the road will be open one-way, from Bloomingdale Avenue to Dorsey Street. Pedestrian traffic will be maintained on one side of the road, Lawton said.

Part of the village parking lot behind Community Bank will be used as a staging area to stockpile materials for the project. Roughly 10 to 15 parking spots will still be accessible, Lawton said.

The village handed out a pair of maps, one that shows detours around the construction zone and another that identifies nearby parking lots. The documents will be posted on the village website,, Sweeney said.

“There’s going to be an issue (with parking),” he said. “What we want to do is get this out to the public and say, ‘There is parking available. Please utilize it and please make the necessary provisions.'”

The village has asked business owners to provide contact information so they can keep them updated on the project. Among other things, it’s asked for information about when they get deliveries.

Lawton said crews will work to keep the businesses’ front doors accessible during the project. Temporary water service will be provided to the affected buildings. Jan Kibben of Kibben Consulting will be on site during the construction to meet with business owners and affected residents, Lawton said.

Roughly a dozen downtown business owners, employees and residents attended the meeting. Enterprise Publisher Catherine Moore said her business gets deliveries throughout the day, including from large tractor-trailers. She asked if the village could talk to Rite-Aid, on Church Street, about the possibility of allowing those trucks to use the drug store’s parking lot to reach the Enterprise.

Trustee Allie Pelletieri asked if anything could be done to reduce the dust and noise from the construction for people who live downtown. Sweeney said the village will use its water truck to keep the ground wet.

“The noise is going to be difficult,” he said. “There’s federal laws that beepers have to be on all the vehicles. They’re going to be going.”

The water main replacement will be done as an extension of the village’s water project contract with Potsdam-based J.E. Sheehan Contracting Corp. The sewer and other work will be sent out for bid sometime next month.

The village will host another meeting on the project at 5:30 p.m. next Wednesday in the town hall auditorium.