3 Water St Bridge.JPG

ELIZABETHTOWN — Residents on Water Street, the most densely populated area here, have been concerned with what they feel has been inadequate signage concerning the closure of the bridge at the end of the thoroughfare.

Much of the traffic which comes to the red light at the intersection of NY State Routes 9 and 9N from the south is passing through Elizabethtown and, through GPS devices, has been directed to utilize Water St., which is a shortcut to continue towards Keene and Lake Placid.

When the bridge was closed on September 16, the signage indicting this was limited caused much confusion with motorists, which resulted in them turning around in driveways and lawns and backtracking on the street.

As has been common in recent years the internet, particularly Facebook, elicited commentaries, including these:

Courtney Fair: The bridge closure signs are after Cross Street. So if they are watching signs it’s too late. Yesterday was twice as busy with cars and trailers having to double back. I think a barricade/sign in the lane at the 4 way with Cross Road would be helpful.

Julie Martin: There aren’t any DETOUR signs at the intersection of Water St. and Route 9. Signage could definitely be better. But it’s still amazing how many people drive up to the closed bridge.

Susan Bullock: Last night walking seen so many Vermont plated cars having to turn around and go back to intersection. I’m still watching them. Also watched a man towing an RV pull right up to the bridge barricade. He ended up turning around on a neighbor’s lawn breaking a few tree branches on the way. He screamed at us saying his GPS told him to come this way.

Mike Drew: Another example of people not paying attention to signs...State speed limit on Water St. is 35 MPH, but some drive up through at 55-60.

Suzie Hutchins: Maybe they don’t think the bridge signs pertain to them. It’s hard to believe so many people don’t see them - amazing!!

After a large camper backed on to his lawn and broke several tree branches, Josh Mowery created a make-shift barrier of logs where the sod hits the road.

Manifestations of the residents’ displeasure also included impromptu cardboard signs which attempted to re-direct motorists. “Slow Down Turn Around Bridge Closed,” was tied to a post at the intersection of Cross Street with Water Street. “Your GPS is wrong. Bridge is still closed,” was posted within sight of the barricades.

Others contacted officials, specifically Elizabethtown Town Supervisor Noel Merrihew.

“The first few days after the closure were an experience, but now adequate signage has been erected, and so I think we have addressed the problem now. On the positive side, it looks like we will have a safe Halloween, as it has been scary in the past with people traveling through at over 40 miles an hour.”

Water St. has been a popular site for Trick- or-Treaters over the years.

Merrihew contacted Essex County Superintendent of Public Works Jim Dougan and within a few days large signs with arrows were erected at the intersection.

The cost of demolition and replacement of the crumbling structure which was erected in the early 1900s is slightly over two million dollars and is expected to be completed by the summer of 2022.

Email Alvin Reiner at: rondackrambler@gmail.com

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