(WKBW release) The New York State Department of Transportation is re-opening the former Route 219 (South Cascade Drive and Miller Road) Bridge over Cattaraugus Creek several weeks ahead of schedule, acting Regional Director Darrell Kaminski announced at ceremonies held at the bridge Friday.
According to the news release:
Residents and local businesses depend heavily on this bridge, which is why NYSDOT worked diligently to re-open this important link as quickly as possible. The bridge was originally scheduled to be re-opened in early April.
“Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, the department was able to expedite emergency repairs to the former Route 219 Bridge which provides a local transportation link between Erie and Cattaraugus counties,” said Kaminski. “It was important to re-open the bridge to traffic because it not only serves local mobility and transportation needs, but it has a direct impact on the local economy of the surrounding communities.”
The bridge was closed to all traffic on January 5, 2012, due to structural concerns caused by frozen bridge bearings. NYSDOT invoked an emergency contract to accelerate the replacement of the bridge abutment bearings and return traffic to the bridge. Several regional public officials joined Kaminski to commemorate the reopening.
“Our infrastructure is suffering from a crippling lack of investment and our economy is paying the price, as evidenced by the devastating impact the sudden but necessary closing of the bridge had on the local business community,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. “According to Transportation for America report, the Buffalo Niagara region ranks thirteenth worst in the nation, among similar sized communities in terms of deficient bridges. In this instance, the New York State Department of Transportation was able to act swiftly to address safety issues, and we are thankful for their efforts. This however, should be a wake-up call. The best way to create economic growth is to create jobs and the best way to create jobs is to invest aggressively in infrastructure. There is a great amount of work that needs to be done and Western New Yorkers certainly need the work.”
Congressman Reed said, “This bridge is a main conduit and having it open again is vital to those in both Cattaraugus and Erie Counties. I thank all the local and state officials and agencies who kept this project as a top priority and made this happen.”
Senator Catharine Young said, "The re-opening in such a short period of time truly is a remarkable feat. When the bridge closed, the future was murky. It wasn't clear if it ever could be open for traffic again, which would have killed small businesses and hurt the quality of life for local residents. Governor Cuomo really stepped up to the plate. He worked with Senator Gallivan, the DOT and me to come up with a speedy solution, and we are grateful for his responsiveness. It is a day for celebration."
"Word that traffic will be restored to the Old 219 Bridge is long-awaited and welcome news for the Village of Springville,” said Senator Patrick Gallivan. “Since the bridge’s abrupt closure in January, I have worked every day with transportation officials in Western New York and in Albany to restore bridge traffic as soon as safely possible; I thank them for their cooperation. But the most important efforts came from those impacted most – the people and businesses of Springville. Without their persistence and commitment, I don’t think we would be celebrating the re-opening of this bridge ahead of schedule, as we are today. They deserve all the credit in the world."
“I’m extremely pleased by the diligent work of the State Department of Transportation in getting the former Route 219 Bridge re-opened to traffic ahead of its self-imposed deadline,” said Assembly Joseph Giglio. “Throughout the entire process, the DOT was fully engaged with the residents and businesses on both sides of the bridge; the DOT fully understood their concerns, and they communicated with the entire community by providing progress reports on the status of the repair and potential opening. I truly appreciate the work of the Department of Transportation, and I believe that I am able to speak for the affected residents and businesses by saying that they appreciate the work as well. This bridge being accessible to traffic is a major benefit to both the Cattaraugus and Erie county communities.”
Assemblyman Kevin Smardz said, “I am very pleased that we are able to re-open the repaired former Route 219 Bridge ahead of schedule. Many of my constituents, commuters and business owners, made it very clear what was at stake when the bridge closed for repairs and the dire effects a delayed process would have on the future of jobs and the local economy. The Department of Transportation understood what was at stake, and worked with us to see that the former Route 219 Bridge was repaired – not only in a timely manner, but in a way that ensured the safety of those using the bridge was of top priority. I want to thank Mayor Krebs, Supervisor Eppolito, Regional Director Kaminski, Senator Gallivan, Kate Moody of the Springville Chamber of Commerce and everyone else involved in this effort for coming through for the members of this community. Make no mistake – the real winners today are the residents and job creators of this community, whose tireless efforts were the driving force behind this process being as successful as it was. They deserve our utmost appreciation and thanks.”
“I would like to thank Department of Transportation for their prompt response in resolving the safety issues and reconstruction relating to the 219 bridge,” said Ashford Town
Supervisor Chris Gerwitz. “I also would like to thank the construction crew who worked on the bridge and completed the fix in a safe, swift manner.”
Concord Town Supervisor Gary Eppolito said, "Department of Transportation Regional Director Kaminski promised to do everything possible to have the bridge opened by the first week in April. He has stayed true to his word and has managed to complete the job a couple of weeks earlier than anticipated. The community owes him and his staff a debt of gratitude. Now we need to inform the public that the Village of Springville and Town of Concord are open for business."
“The Village of Springville thanks the New York State Department of Transportation for its prompt repair of the Old Route 219 Bridge. We thank Congressman Higgins, State Senator Gallivan, State Assemblyman Smardz, and County Legislator Mills for their support in securing the needed emergency repairs,” said Springville Village Mayor Bill Krebs. “We also want to thank the Springville Area Chamber of Commerce and the local business men and women who worked tirelessly in advocating for the reopening of this bridge which is a lifeline through our community.”
The emergency bridge repairs were completed under the statewide emergency bridge contract which was awarded to D.A. Collins Construction Company of Wilton, Saratoga County. Although traffic will be crossing the bridge, crews will still be on site over the next several weeks to finish detail work.