Former Route 219 bridge will be closed for replacement in 2015.
CONCORD—Residents and commuters should start planning an alternate route for their travels if they have plans to use the former 219 bridge over Cattaraugus Creek in 2015.
The New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald announced the allocation of federal funding which will be used to replace the bridge on South Cascade Drive and Miller Road.
McDonald sited that many residents and business owners rely on the bridge as a link between Cattaraugus and Erie counties and that the NYSDOT’s top priority is to ensure safe travels for their residents.
“The State Department of Transportation continues to work with our federal, state and local officials under the leadership of Governor [Andrew] Cuomo, to improve our transportation and infrastructure to serve the needs of our community,” McDonald said. “Area residents and local businesses have made it clear that they depend heavily on this bridge crossing as an important transportation link between Erie and Cattaraugus counties, and a vital conduit for the local economy.”
The bridge was temporarily closed in 2012 to repair structural concerns, however, the bridge was reopened ahead of schedule after emergency structural repairs were accelerated by the NYSDOT. The bridge, which was built in 1956, now boasts a sign alerting travelers the maximum weight is 15 tons.
The announcement was made on May 20 and NYSDOT officials stated that the replacement of the South Cascade Drive and Miller Road Bridge is in the preliminary design phase and construction is scheduled to begin in 2015.
“The long term prospects for the bridge were in doubt and we worked with Governor Cuomo to secure its future. It was a huge relief to small businesses and residents when it reopened after repairs, and now rebuilding the bridge is tremendously important to our economy and quality of life,” Senator Catharine Young said. “This project will create construction jobs and continue commerce. I salute the governor and DOT for their leadership, and thank local residents for their advocacy. Citizens can make a difference everyday.”
The former 219 bridge is inspected annually to ensure safety for travelers, but Congressman Tom Reed, whose district includes Cattaraugus County, said his office has been advocating for the critical repairs along the bridge.
The bridge, which connects the town of Ashford in Cattaraugus County to the town of Concord in Erie County, has been a concern of residents and business owners though they have been patient in waiting for the completion, according to Assemblyman David DiPietro.
“I campaigned on securing the funding to replace this bridge for the people of my district and I want to thank everyone who helped accomplish this goal,” DiPietro said.
The constructions is scheduled to begin as early as February 2015, but it is unclear how long the bridge will remain closed, according to NYSDOT spokewoman Susan Surdej.
"The project is still in the early stages of design," Surdej said. "So we don't have an official time line yet."
Public forums will be held throughout the summer of 2014 to gather input from community members on how to best go about the project, Surdej said.
"We understand this is a vital piece of transportation for residents," she said. "The public forums will be advertised so we can hear what residents have to say."