The hand-laid walls of Whiteface anorthosite — igneous rock older than a billion years — are also crumbling.
The walls form a barrier at the road’s edge.
“On the Wilmington Turn, the wall itself is just coming apart,” Preston said.
At the top, the final stretch of shoulder is heaving toward the steep mountain’s edge.
Preston stood and watched cars veer to the center of the road, crossing over the yellow line to move away from that edge.
“They all move away from that side,” he said.
The Castle is also in need of major repairs, Preston explained. The cost estimate to have the elevator reconditioned, separate from road repairs, came in at over $1 million.
“And that’s the only way handicapped people get to the summit,” he said, reiterating the purpose of road access to the top of Whiteface.
The Veteran’s Memorial Highway was commissioned by Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1929 and dedicated on July 20, 1935, after he became president.
It encompasses 5 miles of ascending roadway, climbing about 450 feet every mile. Highway proprietorship has long been passed from one state agency to another, caught in a tangle of ownership regulation since the year it opened.
“It’s owned by the state of New York,” Preston said. “Then it would fall to the governor to make this happen. It would take an item in the budget to accomplish this.”
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