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The Rt. 11 corridor
The Rt. 11 corridor

DOT to determine scope of rooftop highway study

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State transportation officials say they've yet to determine what kind of highway study they're going to do in the North Country. But they confirm $2.5 million has been allocated to analyze the Route 11 corridor. David Sommerstein reports.

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David Sommerstein
Reporter/ Producer

When Governor Cuomo mentioned Route 98 aka the rooftop highway aka an Interstate between Watertown and Plattsburgh in his budget speech Tuesday, he acknowledged a range of opinions on the decades old idea, "This is a roadway that the North Country has talked about for a long time. Different people have different opinions over whether it will work. Let’s spend the money. Let’s do the study, and let’s find out if it works."

State Department of Transportation spokesman Beau Duffy says there is $2.5 million for a North Country transportation study. But it’s not necessarily about an Interstate…or a Canton-Potsdam bypass, as Cuomo’s State of the State briefing had indicated.

"It’s hard to speculate because we haven’t worked out the scope yet," Duffy said. That will happen in the coming weeks. According to Duffy, the study will piggyback on what he calls forward momentum in the North Country’s economy, "Transportation infrastructure is vital because that’s how goods get to market, that’s how people get to work, so with the positive momentum that’s happening, now makes a good time to look at what do we have to do from a transportation standpoint to further that momentum and keep things going in a positive direction,"

Just the mention of the highway study in Cuomo’s speeches is a major political coup for the North Country’s leaders. All of the region’s top politicians support construction of an Interstate from Watertown to Plattsburgh. That’s estimated to cost $6 billion.

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