Appearing in the tiny hamlet of St. Hubert's, Cuomo was joined by Joan McDonald - commissioner of the state Department of Transportation - as well as local and state lawmakers.
Cuomo stressed that reopening Route 73 is vital to the area's economic health, especially with fall foliage season right around the corner.
Chris Morris was on hand for Monday's ribbon cutting and has this report.
Folks in Keene and Keene Valley have had a rough couple of weeks after flooding from Tropical Storm Irene devastated homes and businesses in this picturesque Adirondack community.
But Monday morning brought a glimmer of hope as Gov. Cuomo visited the area for the third time in less than two weeks.
He was in St. Hubert’s, speaking from a podium set in front of a flashing sign announcing that state Route 73 is open once again.
“The Adirondacks, the North Country is open for business,” Cuomo said. “We want that message to resonate all across the state.”
This section of highway was literally wiped out by flooding, leaving Keene Valley cut off from the Adirondack Northway. Early estimates had reconstruction taking at least two months – instead, the project was complete within 10 days, Cuomo says.
“Even with that expedited, accelerated timetable, the contractor and DOT actually exceeded that benchmark, and the entire highway – both lanes – are open today, ahead of the deadline where only one lane was supposed to be open,” he said.
Workers logged about 2,700 hours and used approximately 150,000 tons of stone to complete the project well ahead of schedule.
The big takeaway for Cuomo is that government can perform and exceed expectations when people work together.
“I think one of the stories in all of this is that government actually worked,” he said. “The federal government was here right away, they came in as a partner. State government has been working with local government, and the whole federal, state, and local government access really rose to the occasion.”
Cuomo was joined Monday by state Senator Betty Little and Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward – both heaped praise upon the governor.
Here’s Betty Little:
“He’s done a great job, he’s had great organization – I’ve never seen such presence in my 16 years in the Legislature,” she said. “Thank you, thank you, thank you – and on behalf of all the people who are going to get to enjoy the North Country now that the road is open, thank you for that too.”
Sayward says New Yorkers should feel lucky to have a leader like Cuomo in Albany:
“A leader who will not look to someone else to do what needs to be done, but will take the situation in hand and make sure we have everything we need to put ourselves back together”
Keene Supervisor Bill Ferebee says his community has made significant progress in picking up the pieces following Irene.
Following Cuomo’s remarks, Ferebee credited the Labor for Your Neighbor program, which brought an influx of volunteers into Keene and Keene Valley last week to help with clean-up and repairs.