HADLEY -- Saratoga County officials said Sunday that North Shore Road will be closed for at least a month after a collapse Friday night sent a couple tumbling more than 25 feet toward the banks of Great Sacandaga Lake.
The 75-foot-wide hole continues to get larger as the eroded ground below breaks away and falls to the lakeshore some 60 feet below.
County Department of Public Works Superintendent Eric Shiel said the cost of repairing the widening hole remains unknown. He said crews are slated Monday to begin engineering the road that winds along a lakeside ridge if the weather holds.
"I’m not really sure what caused it," he said. "I don’t think the bank was stable."
Shiel estimates the re-engineering and hillside stabilization project will take four weeks.
A culvert that routes hillside runoff beneath the road and into the lake lies directly below the collapsed section of roadway, but is not blocked up.
Officials on scene estimated that an additional 2 feet of the road had been eaten away over the last 24 hours and additional chunks of asphalt could be observed breaking away Sunday afternoon.
North Shore Road is the primary thoroughfare for hundreds of Day and Edinburgh residents who commute daily to the Glens Falls area. Alternate routes leading to the Batchellerville Dam add at least 15 miles onto the trip.
At about 9 p.m. Friday, Hellen Kenny and Vincent Ruggiero, both 58, were driving their 2002 Kia Sportage on North Shore Road when it gave way beneath them.
Ruggiero, of Day, said he remembers the vehicle repeatedly flipping as it tumbled down the embankment before coming to a rest on its side 30 feet below where the road formerly sat.
"I couldn’t undue my seat belt. I was really jammed," he said. "I was wedged in and could only move my left hand, so I undid Helen’s belt and she was able to climb out and make it up the hill."
Kenny, who was driving when the vehicle was consumed by the road, suffered multiple bruises and cuts. She received dozens of stitches across her head and face.
Ruggerio remained trapped in the vehicle until emergency crews arrived and removed its roof.
"I couldn’t tell you how long I was actually stuck in there," he said. "It seemed like a really long time."
Both victims were airlifted to Albany Medical Center, treated and released. When interviewed at his home Sunday, Ruggerio showed signs of extreme stiffness and an inability to bend over.
"I hurt all over, big time," he said. "But Helen’s much worse."