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Morristown buys property for bridge bypass road

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MORRISTOWN — To pre-empt the possible closure of the bridge spanning Morristown Bay, the village purchased 130 acres of land to build a road connecting Bay and Main streets.

“Eventually, once we got a road around [the bay], we could take the bridge out,” Mayor Cheryl A. Shatraw said.

The land, formerly owned by Craig MacDonald, was purchased for $96,000 and reaches from the bay to Route 37.

Mrs. Shatraw said that once the village determines how much land it needs to accommodate the road, it likely will sell the rest. The 40-year-old bridge over the bay is on its last legs, Mrs. Shatraw said, with visible wear and a very short remaining lifespan.

“We’ve been on borrowed time,” she said.

The problem for the village, however, is that if the bridge is out of commission, the only other way to reach River Road East is to take Route 37 to Route 12, turn right onto Old Mills Road and drive to the entrance of Jacques Cartier State Park.

That distance, 5.6 miles longer than taking the bridge, is a problem for emergency vehicles, Morristown Volunteer Fire Department Chief Kevin J. Crosby said.

Also, the village superintendent of public works, Mr. Crosby said he hopes to begin the process of building the new road this year.

“Our ultimate goal is to at least get it clear cut so that we can get a dirt road in there,” he said.

He said the dirt road could be used by emergency vehicles if the bridge closed before the road could be finished.

Mr. Crosby said the cost of building a new road may run between $100,000 and $200,000, depending on who ends up doing the work.

“We’re hoping to have the bypass complete long before St. Lawrence County closes the bridge,” Mr. Crosby said.

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