Buffalo, NY - Now an update on our Worst Roads in WNY series.
We put together a "top five" list in June and since then we've profiled efforts to get them repaired.
Deputy Commissioner for Highways William Geary of the Erie County Department of Public Works says the county this year spent $34 Million dollars in repairs for county owned roads.
That would include Stony Road in Lancaster where the detour signs are up and the heavy equipment is ripping out the old deteriorated road bed. The long awaited re-construction of Stony Road is underway. Voted in our on-line survey as the 5th worst road in Western New York, Stony Road is now the focus of this Erie County project. The roadway is in a suburban residential area subject to flooding from Ellicott Creek requiring cooperation with state and federal agencies. That also made patching repairs difficult in the past so the road is being re-built with hi - tech fabric in the base to help strengthen it and shed water. Geary says "Drainage is certainly a special challenge with any road that's in a wetland or flood plain. There's definitely a lot of water issues and again with using some of these advanced technologies we should see a better product in the end."
Next up for next month, actually mid-September for the county is re-construction of a portion of the second worst road on the list, Kenmore Avenue. Since it is a boundary road, this is actually the joint project between the City of Buffalo. The city technically owns the eastbound or southern half of the road and Erie County has responsibility for the west-bound or northern half of the road. This first phase is expected to last seven to ten days from Colvin to near Englewood. It will have to be carefully coordinated with alternate lane closings for the heavy volume of traffic of over 16 - thousand cars a day. Geary says "The road's not gonna be closed. There may be some delays so we ask people to just bear with us. They're gonna have a brand new road per - se when we're done."
Again the Kenmore Avenue work will actually be carried out in three phases running into 2015.
At number 4 on our worst road list...Good Rich Road in the town of Clarence. Residents have also been calling for reconstruction for years. As we pointed out in a 2 On Your Side story even County Executive Poloncarz took note of Goodrich Road's poor condition. But even with all the numerous complaints to the county it was not on this year's list. We asked "Realistically is it possible for next year? Geary replied: "It's a realistic possibility. It's on our scheduled radar if you will. We would love to have the funding to do that road but obviously we didn't have the funding this year."
And in Niagara County there is another update. The two mile stretch of Buffalo Avenue from Veterans Drive to 63rd Street is now partially paved with the nearly ten million dollar project on track for a potential end of October completion. And Niagara Falls Mayor Dyster could not be more pleased as he points out "It was a very high priority. Spent 20 years trying to get it done. They found old rail lines and railroad ties in the road bed and that caused issues and made it a maintenance headache."
They also had to deal with some radioactive materials in the roadbed tied to the mining of phosphate in the past. And soil and groundwater issues had to be remediated. But the contractor was able to deal with it all and the Mayor notes that was all done basically on budget.
In the past there was ritual pothole paving on this road which is used heavily by trucks. But now with a complete reconstruction, Dyster believes the road surface should hold up for two decades or more. Some underground utility work is continuing on the paved portion.
While it is an industrial corridor with nearby factories, the Mayor says Buffalo Avenue really is a gateway for the Cataract City and it had to be fixed. Dyster says "This street was a disgrace with stories about people breaking an axle on it. It was absolutely terrible. And although it does go through an industrial area it connects the Grand Island Bridge to downtown...brings people from other neighborhoods to the 190 and from it there are major arterials."