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Bridge workers put in extra hours to keep border traffic moving

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MASSENA - As ice built up across the north country over the weekend, crews at regional bridges worked steadily to keep border traffic flowing.

At the Seaway International Bridge linking Cornwall, Ont., to Massena, motorists were informed of New York road conditions at the toll booth.

“We were telling them to be careful once they crossed over,” Wade Dorland, the operations manager of the Seaway International Bridge Corp.

Mr. Dorland said conditions were not as bad as in other locations.

Still, many motorists appeared to stay home rather than risk the elements. Mr. Dorland reported the bridge saw a 27 percent reduction in traffic from the same weekend a year ago.

Frederick S. Morrill, deputy executive director of the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority, said the approximiately 15-person road crew worked around the clock to ensure operations at the bridge, which connects to Prescott, Ontario.

“I’d say things were extremely bad,” he said. “The weather made things extremely difficult.”

Mr. Morrill said crews opened its port, usually only open Monday through Friday, on Saturday and Sunday so that local municipalities could pick up salt for use on area roads.

Over the weekend, 745 tons of salt was loaded, Mr. Morrill said, primarily on Sunday.

Over at the Thousands Islands Bridge, crews took some lessons from the massive ice storm that hit the region in 1998. One of them was to have a generator in place, which was needed for about five hours after power went out.

“We were much more ready for this event,” said Robert G. Horr III, executive director of the bridge’s authority. “Everything worked as it was supposed to.”

Another lesson learned during the 1998 storm was checking the level of ice accumulation on the bridge structure, which would have an effect on the amount of traffic the bridge could sustain.

“Another inch of ice and we could’ve been restricting” traffic, Mr. Horr said.

After a dip in the traffic during the main points of the weekend storm, Mr. Horr said that the bridge had a high level of truck traffic Sunday evening.

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