PARISHVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - A quick turnaround on the Jones Road bridge near Parishville. Closed just three months ago, it’s buzzing again.
Snowmobiles are again riding across the St. Regis River at Jones Road. The new bridge is narrower than the old one. But for snowmobilers, it will do for now.
“Basically, this is a major thoroughfare for most everybody that snowmobiles up here. This river that you see here behind me – gets in the way,” said Larry Hopsicker, St. Lawrence County Snowmobile Association member.
The Jones Road bridge was found to be unsafe and closed in September. Before that, automobile traffic was light. But for snowmobilers and ATV riders, it was a trail gateway.
“We all love the sport and if we didn't have this bridge, we couldn't connect to Franklin County. And we love riding longer distances,” said Debbie Christy, St. Lawrence County Snowmobile Association president.
The bridge wasn't scheduled to be rebuilt until 2021. But just three months of supercharged lobbying and building saw the temporary bridge funded and built.
“This is definitely the miracle bridge,” said Christy.
The county put up $135,000 for it. The Snowmobile Association kicked in $5,000 of that. The temporary bridge is carried on huge steel girders just above the old one.
Snowmobilers say this isn't just all about fun. Snowmobiling is a powerful economic driver in St. Lawrence County. It supports restaurants, bars, gas stations and other businesses.
“A lot of people belong to these clubs that are from Massachusetts or Vermont, New Hampshire. And they come up here to enjoy the four-wheeling and the snowmobiling,” said Hopsicker.
They’re emphasizing the bridge is for recreational traffic only. A replacement span that can carry automobiles is still slated to be built in 2021.