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Officials celebrate early completion of street reconstruction project in Plattsburgh

View of completed construction on Margaret Street looking south from Protection Avenue
Pat Bradley
View of completed construction on Margaret Street looking south from Protection Avenue

Officials in Plattsburgh celebrated the completion of a major street reconstruction project on Saturday — ahead of schedule and under budget.

The Margaret Street Project was intended to be a two-year process to repave the city’s main downtown street and replace aging utility infrastructure under that and connecting streets. Democratic Mayor Chris Rosenquest called the early completion an incredible achievement in planning, engineering, community engagement and construction.

“This project started with the real clear understanding that the aged infrastructure that not only lives under one of the most central business districts, and one of the most important residential neighborhoods that we have in the city of Plattsburgh, when we start to see the deterioration of this important keystone neighborhood, it's really time to take action and make some corrections. So here we are to recognize and officially reopen the street.”

C&S Companies was the lead engineering firm. Project Manager Kelly McArdle described the extent of the project and the work that was done on Margaret and side streets over a six-and-a-half month period.

“This was a full depth reconstruction project. Beneath you today there are new sanitary lines, water lines and drainage systems. Water mains were replaced with a 12-inch plastic pipe and we added new valves along the lines so that way if there's any maintenance, we can make that shutdown a little bit easier and a little less inconvenience to keep all the businesses up and running. Around the project you'll also see new concrete curb ADA compliant sidewalk and a stamp dyed snow storage. New trees have been planted throughout the project and they help promote infiltration and healthy growth of the foliage. New bike racks, benches and trash cans were also installed.”

Physical reconstruction began in April. For months prior city officials worked with downtown business owners to assess concerns such as potential loss of business in the construction area, which included parts of Brinkerhoff and Court Streets. 1UP Arcade and Pub co-owner Christopher James is relieved that the project is done.

“To have us standing here in a road that two weeks ago looked like they were digging a tunnel to someplace is just remarkable. But all in all, what was really seriously remarkable is that it was the support of downtown, of the community, because we don't have a business if people didn't come down. It would have been much easier to say I'm not going to deal with that construction. But people came. And one of the nice things to see was last night at around 4:30 the six-and-a-half-month construction migraine went away. And we didn't need anyone, remarkably, to tell everybody because we looked around every parking spot was full. The restaurants were full. People were out and about. It was just like a dream after navigating this construction for six-and-a-half months.”

Mayor Rosenquest says while all the costs have yet to be tallied, the project appears to be under budget.

“It was $12 million, rounded up $12 million. We should come in about $300,000 under budget for the entire project. That includes any contingency funds that we had allocated for bigger issues or issues that come up. In projects like this it's well known that issues do come up. You know, we've still got some checks to write to folks. And after those checks get cut then we'll have a final number for council and for the rest of the rest of the community.”

The traffic pattern along a 500-foot section of Margaret Street between Court and Brinkerhoff Streets has now been changed to one-way only. Mayor Rosenquest admits it may cause some confusion.

“How we came about it was from community engagement. People wanted to retain parking and there was no way to widen the sidewalks for pedestrians and for businesses, as well as keep two lanes of drive and all of the parking involved. But we did design and engineer it so that if we did need to take a lane of parking out and put the northbound lane back in, we can do that without changing any hard surfaces.”

Some finishing work will continue in the spring, including scoring and painting crosswalks.