Route 219 Extension Opens

November 19, 2010 Updated Nov 19, 2010 at 7:14 PM EDT

By WKBW Programming

November 19, 2010 Updated Nov 19, 2010 at 7:14 PM EDT

SPRINGVILLE, NY (WKBW) - Officials from all across Western New York took part in the ribbon cutting Friday morning to open the 4.2 mile extension of U.S. Route 219, the Southern Expressway.

The $129 million extension project that took nearly five years to complete now extends the four-lane highway from Springville to a new interchange in Ashford in Cattaraugus County.

“Extending the Southern Expressway allows greater mobility for area residents and long distance travelers and truckers by providing a safe, efficient way to travel between Erie and Cattaraugus counties,” Acting NYSDOT Commissioner Stanley Gee said. “In addition, this new stretch of highway features a stunning backdrop with panoramic views of the mountains and valleys that make up the Enchanted Mountains.”

The project included the construction of nine new bridges including two, twin steel arch bridges that each span over 700 feet across the Cattaraugus Creek Gorge.

A new 41-acre wetland and wildlife observation area was constructed in Hinman Valley, town of Ellicottville, as well as a 2,000-foot stream habitat enhancement project on McKinstry Creek, in the town of Yorkshire.

The U.S. Route 219 extension provides a unique, scenic gateway to Cattaraugus County offering beautiful views of the Cattaraugus Creek gorge and surrounding valleys. Locally, the area is known as the “Enchanted Mountains,” and travelers on U.S. Route 219 enjoy a landscape of woodland hills and stream glens. These scenic qualities helped earn U.S. Route 219 the designation of a New York State Scenic Byway in 2007.