The Adirondack Northway – Interstate 87

medium Winter Mountains 87 sign Exits 22, 23, and 24 off Interstate 87, fondly known as the Adirondack Northway, will bring you to Bolton Landing – very easy access, considering the original modes of travel which could take days! After actual roads became more common in this area, one diary noted that several tire changes could be required between Albany and Lake George alone. It was not usual for travelers to book a train, steam boat and carriage to get to their ultimate destination on our wonderful lake. We tend to take the Adirondack Northway for granted now, but it is actually a fairly new highway created in stages between 1957 and 1967. The route chosen was originally in question because of the amount of forest preserve required to build the highway. Assemblyman Richard Bartlett of Queensbury wrote a proposed constitutional amendment to allow the preserve in this area to be used for highway construction, and the amendment was approved in the 1959 election. Arthur Benson, the founder of “Frontier Town” helped persuade then Governor Nelson Rockefeller to name the new road the “Adirondack Northway” – the guiding thought was to ensure that drivers on the interstate would be reminded that the road offered a gateway to the vast and magnificent Adirondack Park – the largest park in the contiguous United States, as well as the largest National Historical Landmark. The last section of the Adirondack Northway was completed in time to allow the entire highway from Albany to Canada to be opened in time for Montreal’s World Fair in the spring of 1967. The Northway becomes Autoroute-15 at the Canadian border. Interstate 87 is also the longest Interstate Highway contained within a state in the entire United States Interstate Highway System (it is 333 miles for New York city to the Canadian Border). On March 5, 1967, the Lake George-Pottersville portion of I-87 was chosen as America’s Most Scenic New Highway of 1966 by Parade Magazine, the second New York State highway to win that award. And very well deserved! The original concept for the Northway was part of Congress’ post World War II country-wide interstate highway program designed to allow the military to quickly move machinery and men to defend the nation’s borders. The Adirondack Northway was created to connect Albany with the Air Force’s Strategic Air Command in Plattsburgh. These interstate highways were funded by Congress up to 90% of each project’s final costs. The total cost to New York State for the Adirondack Northway was about $208 million (which would be $1.46 billion in 2014 money). The Adirondack Northway is the 176-mile section of I-87 from Albany to Canada, a divided highway of four to six lanes, and 123 miles of connecting and access roads. Previous to WWII, most larger United States highways were two lanes – the concept and necessity of divided highways was fairly new. Originally the stretch of Northway through the Adirondack Park had emergency call boxes every mile along m0st of its length. The advent of cellphones, and more cell towers serving the Adirondack region (13 are planned, 2 have been installed), has lessened the need – emergency call boxes connected directly to New York State Police dispatchers are now about every two miles along either side of the highway in the “dark zone”. The Northway has opened up many possibilities for Lake George- Bolton Landing area – better transportation allows more people to commute to jobs in other areas, and ease of access allows more visitors to come to Lake George and Bolton Landing for the fabulous resources here. No matter where I am driving from, I always think, “I’m home!” when I see the mountains between Exit 21 and 22 – and the site always makes me smile. And the beautiful lakeside stretch of road on 9N north between Exit 22 and Bolton Landing is what convinced me to move here. What are your favorite sites along the Northway? Which is your favorite exit for Bolton Landing? Penelope Jewellmedium_trees hill 87  ]]>