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Ogdensburg port access road construction begins

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Construction is under way at the port of Ogdensburg of an $1.8 million access road that, officials say, will enable the Paterson Street facility to handle oversized cargo.

Contractors have been on site near the port at Wall Street since late last month. Their work will be done Sept. 30, according to Wade A. Davis, executive director of the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority, which owns the maritime facility on the St. Lawrence River.

The road will run a third of a mile east along the New York and Ogdensburg Railway and then turn south to the intersection of Barre and Ford streets. From there, heavy trucks with oversized loads will head to Route 37 via Ford Street Extension, which goes through a commercial district. The alternative has been through a residential stretch of Paterson Street.

Mr. Davis said Thursday the access road will put the port in the big leagues of shipping by attracting bigger cargo that pays higher fees to the Authority. It will also create up to 70 longshoreman jobs.

“It increases the relevance of the port,” he said. “It increases the capabilities of the port.”

Mr. Davis said the access road will also make the port a player in the growing green energy industry. Even without it, the first of several ships carrying blades and turbines for two windmill farms was set to arrive at the port Thursday evening.

That activity will do more than create longshoreman jobs. Mr. Davis said the 11 ships will result in 1,000 windmill parts-carrying trucks leaving the port, 210 rail cars delivering cargo and an estimated $870,000 in direct wages paid into the local economy.

The blades and turbines are bound for the Marble River Wind Farm Project in Churubusco and the Green Mountain Power Project in Lowell, Vt.

One other example of the scope of the project is the amount of crushed stone that will be delivered to the site from the Hanson and Aggregates quarry at 721 Cedar St.

Hanson officials declined comment Thursday, but Mr. Davis said an estimated 4,500 tons of crushed stone hauled in by 18-to-21-ton truckloads will be required for the port road project. The project is funded by $1.2 million from the state Department of Transportation, $450,000 from the state’s Empire State Development Corp., a $95,000 grant from the St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency and an $87,000 loan from the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency.

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