Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced that work is beginning on a $2.9 million project to improve the intersection of U.S. Route 11 and State Route 26 near Fort Drum in Jefferson County.
The project “fulfills a pledge” that Cuomo made in his 2015 State of the State address to fund transportation projects that “enhance safety and ease traffic” on Route 26 near Fort Drum, Cuomo’s office said in a Monday news release.
“With this latest project on Route 26 now underway, New York State continues its longstanding commitment to making significant infrastructure investments that enhance the quality of life around Fort Drum for soldiers and their families, and the residents of Jefferson County,” Cuomo said in the news release. “Fort Drum is the largest economic engine in the North Country and this project, as well as [two] preceding ones, are helping to ensure this important military base remains a fixture in the region.”
Fort Drum, home to the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division, is the largest employer in the North Country, Cuomo’s office said.
Overseen by the New York State Department of Transportation, this new project will provide additional turning lanes at the intersection of U.S. Route 11 and State Route 26 and add a slip ramp onto State Route 26 for northbound traffic on U.S. Route 11.
The slip ramp will service military and civilian traffic, as well as commercial traffic headed to Fort Drum.
In addition, improvements to the signal will ease congestion and improve operational efficiency at the busy intersection. The state expects crews to finish the project by late summer 2019.
After the state finished the Fort Drum connector (I-781), Cuomo in 2015 announced plans to move forward with long-discussed improvements to Route 26 in and around Fort Drum.
The first project, completed two years ago, aligned the intersection of State Route 26 on Fort Drum and reconfigured the Route 26 intersection with Oneida and Ontario avenues to improve safety and reduce congestion.
The second project reconstructed about one mile of Nash Boulevard and erected a new bridge, connecting the airfield area of the base to the main encampment area. The project “enhanced” transportation operations on Fort Drum by providing direct access between emcampment areas, in turn reducing congestion on State Route 26. In addition, the creation of a two-lane, multi-girder bridge over Route 26 now allows on-base traffic to pass from one side to the other without having to leave the base and again clear security upon re-entry.
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IMAGE CREDIT: New York State Department of Transportation Twitter page