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Salamanca residents furious with the poor condition of NYS roads that run through the city

Many feel the city is being held "hostage" because of a dispute between NYS and the Seneca Nation of Indians.
Posted at 6:27 PM, Mar 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-04 18:31:21-05

SALAMANCA, N.Y. (WKBW) — People in Salamanca are furious with the poor condition of NY State Routes 219 and 417 that run through the center of the city.

The roads are littered with cracks, crumbles and potholes.

Conditions are so poor in some sections that "rough road" warnings are posted. A lane of Rt. 219 heading into Salamanca from Ellicottville is shut down because the road is so bad.

"There are no words that can describe how frustrated everybody is here in the city," said Rob Carpenter, Salamanca Director of Public Works.

Carpenter said he, and the city's mayor, have tried to get answers about the road repairs from NYS "but we can never seem to get a truly clear answer."

The roads are so bad in some spots that Carpenter said there is consideration of closing whole portions of the state routes because of safety concerns.

Salamanca crews have been cold-patching the state routes, which is costing taxpayers about $100,000 this season, added the DPW director.

Many in the city fear the repairs have not been made because of an on-going dispute between NYS and the Seneca Nation of Indians. Salamanca is located inside the Allegany Indian Reservation, one of two governed by the Seneca Nation.

"It is just back-stabbing politics," commented Salamanca resident Ned Fenton, who added, "Route 417 through the City of Salamanca is just impassible. I've seen better cow paths."

Congressman Tom Reed, who was previously critical of NYS for not fixing a portion of the Thruway that runs through the Seneca Nation, issued this statement: "We are working with State Senator George Borrello and the rest of our partners at the state level to push to ensure these roads are repaired."

NYS Department of Transportation response:

7 Eyewitness News reached out to the NYS Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) to find out what will be done to fix the problem roads. NYSDOT sent the following response:

"The Department of Transportation is in the process of developing a combined project to address the pavement on these routes which is currently scheduled to be let in summer 2020. The project will include a 2-course mill and overlay, new curb ramps, limited sidewalk replacement, new traffic signals and signs as well as drainage improvements. The project also calls for restriping route 219 (Central Avenue) from 4 lanes to 3 lanes from Route 417 to the Salamanca north city line, and restriping 417 (Clinton Street) from 3 lanes to 2 lanes with parking and bicycle lanes from Main Street to Parkway Drive.

In the interim, our maintenance forces will continue to fill potholes and patch until our project is in the construction phase this fall."