Fort Drum's Connector Highway Opens Thursday


It has been two and a half years and $58 million in the making.

Now the Fort Drum connector is ready to open.

"We're very excited. We've waited a long time," said Rebecca Swartzentruber, state Department of Transportation engineer in charge.

Drivers will be excited, too. 

The connector goes directly from Interstate 81 to Fort Drum's main gate. 

You travel up and over all that Route 11 congestion.

"I think it's going to pull a lot of the through traffic off Route 11," said Paul Foley, DOT civil engineer.

"I think there'll be less traffic although during the lunch hours. I think a lot of people will still be using Route 11 for that," said Swartzentruber.

Route 781, its technical name, was carved out of raw farmland.

Its nearly five-mile length includes four new bridges. 

"It was a good experience watching the whole project come together from the clearing to now the final pavement and traffic," said Foley.

The project includes this weather station.

It will monitor weather and pavement temperatures in case advisories need to be issued to drivers.

The connector opens Thursday, but it's unclear exactly when.

Signs have to unveiled and message boards must be activated.

"So we're gonna work backwards and open up the project," said Swartzentruber,

In addition, some detail work will continue.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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