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Rep. Tom Reed calls out state over rough stretch of I-90

Declares Seneca Nation stretch of road defective
Dispute leaves bumpy stretch of I-90 for drivers
Posted at 11:36 PM, Aug 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-03 10:43:57-04

IRVING, N.Y. (WKBW) — Congressman Tom Reed (R) NY-23 sent Governor Andrew Cuomo and DOT officials a letter declaring the Seneca Nation stretch of I-90 a defective road.

"I submitted a video tape to the Department of Transportation, and to the State of New York, and said look, your primary defense if someone gets injured or killed on this road is gone," Reed said.

He sent a "prior written notice of defect." It's a way of holding the state accountable for what Reed said is more than just an unpleasant ride.

"This is not a rough road," he said. "This is a dangerous road, and now the state is on prior written notice of it."

There are already precautions in place, like a 45 mile per hour speed limit. Kyle Nephew, who works near that stretch of I-90, and frequently drives down it, said that is not enough of a solution.

"It's so loud when you work here, you can hear all the trailers rattling by," Nephew said.

Reed said political differences between Cuomo and the Seneca Nation are the reasons why this stretch has not been fixed. An NYS Thruway spokesperson said the state's working towards an agreement with the Seneca Nation to move ahead with a contract to rehabilitate that stretch of thruway.

The Seneca Nation is not speculating on why it hasn't been fixed, it just hopes it does get fixed. It told 7 Eyewitness News that it regularly approves routine maintenance on it's roadways, but the work needed on this stretch goes beyond that.

The nation issued an updated statement Saturday:

There is only one simple reason that the State has continually refused to honor its obligation to repair the portion of Thruway that crosses our Cattaraugus Territory: political revenge. The Seneca Nation has routinely approved resolutions for routine maintenance on this stretch of Thruway. Anyone who has driven on this state roadway knows that it requires far more than routine maintenance. Rather than protect the safety of the traveling public, the Governor would rather try to exact some sort of political revenge against the Seneca Nation for an issue unrelated to the crumbling condition of the Thruway. This behavior is misguided and dangerous for the thousands of drivers who place their safety in the State's hands each day they travel the New York State Thruway.
Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong, Sr.

Reed estimates the cost to fix the approximately 5 mile stretch will be between $5 million to $7 million dollars.