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Major downtown street reconstruction project in Plattsburgh to start April 17th

Margaret Street road construction warning sign
Courtney Meisenheimer
Plattsburgh Mayor's office
Margaret Street road construction warning sign

A major street reconstruction project in downtown Plattsburgh will begin on April 17th.

The Margaret Street Reconstruction Project has been in the planning process for about two years and has appeared before the common council several times for various approvals. During a March 16th council meeting Assistant Superintendent of Public Works Andrew Durrin explained the necessity of the project.

“One of the reasons why we’ve looked at doing this project is the number of water line breaks that we’ve had over the last ten years on Margaret Street," Durrin said. "On average we’re looking at $20,000 per repair for a water line break. So when we looked at this project it was the age of the infrastructure. The sewer lines are actually from 1875.”

On Thursday the mayor’s office announced that the project would break ground on April 17th. Later in the day as councilors discussed approval of outdoor dining permits, Ward 2 Mike Kelly mentioned the project and Mayor Chris Rosenquest and Ward 5 Caitlin Bopp, all Democrats, responded.

“Just another opportunity to remind the public that Margaret Street’s going to be a mess for a while," said Kelly.

“It is anticipated, based on the construction cycle that this will be a year project, not a two year project that we first anticipated," Rosenquest said. "So it’s a very quick project that is going to upset downtown and we want people to keep coming downtown.”

“These project managers are very familiar with trying to find ways to keep businesses accessible and do it in sections so that there’s as little interruption as possible as they go," Bopp added. "Obviously it’s going to be interrupted but I think it’ll be managed.”

Speaking with WAMC on Friday morning, Mayor Rosenquest explained why the project timeline has been shortened.

“After the construction contractor came on, they reviewed the engineering documents and based on their expertise and their timeline they feel that they can get the majority of it done before the end of this year," the mayor said. "So that means all of the water-sewer infrastructure, all of the hard surfaces. One thing that we’ll end up doing is coming back and doing another repaving of Margaret Street next year with restriping.”

During the project Margaret Street traffic flow will be one-way, but the direction of the flow will change periodically. The mayor says that is due to recommendations that one lane be shut down during construction.

“The goal is to use some of these variable message boards further out of downtown to warn people ahead of time," Rosenquest said. "But we don’t foresee these changing on a day-to-day basis. We see these changes being done from week-to-week, maybe two or three weeks at a time, we’ll have it going in one direction. We’ll give people plenty of lead time to understand that there’s going to be a change or an alteration in the traffic pattern so that when they do come it’s not a surprise and they can plan ahead. A lot of it though is ensuring that people can still get downtown.”

The mayor and his staff will meet with Margaret Street landlords, residents and business owners Wednesday to explain what to expect during construction. Rosenquest said he and members of his staff went door to door to downtown business owners this week to let them know about the meeting.

“In the talking that we’ve done a lot of it was questions like are we still going to have water? Yes, you’re still going to have water," the mayor explained. "Some people asked about parking. Parking is still going to be available downtown. The only parking again that we’re taking offline is the parking immediately adjacent to the construction area. You know, people had other concerns about outdoor dining and we’re looking to address that however we can. But I think a lot of people understood that this is coming and understand the impact of it.”

The Margaret Street Project plan includes repaving the street and replacing century-old water and sewer infrastructure. In March city councilors approved measures that included an appropriation of $12.4 million for project construction, $2.9 million in bonds plus $2.1 million for Margaret Street water system improvements.

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