Rocky Mountain Road May Re-Open

January 11, 2011 Updated Jan 12, 2011 at 9:17 AM EDT

By Ed Reilly

January 11, 2011 Updated Jan 12, 2011 at 9:17 AM EDT

(North Collins, NY) Rocky Mountain Road in North Collins, NY was known as the community road.

Hand built by farmers out of shale rock in the 1800's, it was donated to the Town of North Collins around 1841.

"If you wanted to use it, then you had to fix it," says long time resident and former farmer Ronald Schmitt.

But after many years of residents doing their own repairs on the road, erosion from weather and age became so bad that the road base fell apart.

North Collins officials estimated that it would take $2-million dollars to repair the old roadway - money they did not have. The highway department closed access to the road and marked it with a 'Dead End' highway sign.

Now after more than twelve years without traffic, a recycling plan with Erie County might once again open the seasonal highway to vehicles.

Heavy storms in 2009, washed out parts of New Oregon Road in the North Collins / Langford area. Erie County received money from the federal government to make repairs but they needed somewhere to dump the excavated road fill.

North Collins took the fill, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and used it to rebuild the road bed for Rocky Mountain Road.

Erie County taxpayers also benefited. Commissioner of Erie County Public Works Jerry Sentz says not having to transport the excavation spoils to a distant location saved almost one-quarter million dollars.

North Collins Highway Superintendent David Winter says plans are being made to put a surface topping on Rocky Mountain Road. He's hoping to get some recycled gravel or old road millings from other projects.

"One man's trash is another man's treasure," says Winter.

Officials are optimistic that Rocky Mountain Road will re-open in the near future.