ALBANY N.Y. (WWTI) — A $5.4 million project awarded to Jefferson County through New York State’s Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative has been completed.

The project addressed the flooding of a 1,800 linear foot section of County Road 57 and its shoulder, between Chaumont Bay and Lake Ontario. The safety of commuters was determined to be unsafe during high water events, requiring county highway department crews to routinely monitor, close, clear and repair the roadway.

“New York is continuing its promise to assist shoreline communities in combatting the impact of flooding due to climate change. Through our partnerships with local government, we are building back better, smarter and more resilient for the future,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “Our top priority is protecting the people who live in these communities, and through the REDI program we are focused on seeing our mission through from start to finish.”

The vulnerable section of the roadway was raised three feet to mitigate potential flooding and halt further road deterioration. Rip rap was installed to provide wind, wave and ice protection. A culvert was installed to create an underpass for safe passage of the Blanding’s turtle, a threatened species in New York State.

The project also included a turtle crossing in coordination with DEC. The road is bordered on both sides by sensitive wetland habitat and had no existing crossing structures for the population of Blanding’s turtles. Loss of adult females by vehicle strikes is likely the most significant cause of population declines across the species’ range, according to a press release from Governor Hochul’s office. Since Blanding’s turtles mature late and their populations depend on adults reproducing throughout their relatively long lifespan, the loss of even a single female can have a major impact on a population.