WILMINGTON — Some members of the Essex County Board of Supervisors are agitated over what they say is the bumpy and broken condition of the Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway.
The scenic toll road to the summit of Whiteface Mountain accesses Whiteface Mountain State Ski Center and Santa’s Workshop theme park, and Supervisor Roby Politi (R-North Elba) says it’s in horrible shape.
“The state of New York has paid little attention to care and upkeep of the summit of Whiteface,” Politi said. “Thousands of residents and regional visitors enjoy it each year.”
He said that if Gov. Andrew Cuomo saw the condition of the Whiteface Mountain Highway, he would be shocked.
“We should endorse a resolution pleading to the governor for attention to this issue,” Politi said. “If Gov. Cuomo visited the site, he would come to the conclusion this is one of the state’s most valuable assets.”
RUN BY ORDA
Located in the Town of Wilmington, the highway is owned and operated by the Olympic Regional Development Authority of Lake Placid, which charges $10 per vehicle to drive it.
Supervisor Randy Preston (I-Wilmington) said the State Department of Transportation turned it over to ORDA after the 1980 Winter Olympics.
“DOT stopped doing maintenance at 1983 on that road. It’s a shame. It’s one of the most scenic vistas in all of New York state.”
ORDA spokeswoman Wendy Townsley said that some repairs are being done on the Memorial Highway.
“They did do some work, some repaving; they’re currently working on the shoulders.”
Townsley released a statement from ORDA President Ted Blazer saying that his agency wants to improve the highway.
“ORDA continually seeks funding avenues for important historic restoration, while working closely with the Town of Wilmington to identify funding sources for upgrades and maintenance to Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway.”
Politi said something needs to be done quickly.
“The road is uneven and in a state of disrepair. Someone will likely be hurt in the future if something is not done,” he said.
“What a wonderful attraction that is. The state of New York should not let this happen.”
Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah), a motorcycle enthusiast, said he won’t ride his bike up Whiteface Mountain anymore.
“A lot of motorcycle groups avoid that now. If the governor goes to the top of Whiteface, he should take his Harley. The road is deplorable.”
Supervisor Joyce Morency (R-St. Armand) said they don’t want the governor to be hurt riding the road.
“If it’s dangerous, maybe he shouldn’t (ride there),” she said.
The Board of Supervisors unanimously seconded Politi’s motion to notify the Governor’s Office about the road.
Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas (D-Jay) said he would personally make the call to see what can be done.
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