Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the opening of the final five miles of expressway on Route 15 between Corning, Steuben County, and the Pennsylvania border. The new road is opening following completion of $235 million in projects to construct the highway and bridges, and was built to interstate standards to allow the future designation as federal Interstate 99. These projects were delivered on time and $3 million under the total budget of $238 million.
With the opening of the final stretch of Route 15, the Southern Tier has gained a major new channel that will bring new economic activity and investment to the region, Governor Cuomo said. This is a project that was not only completed on-time and under-budget, but was also built to meet federal interstate standards to help ensure its future status as I-99. This highway will more effectively stimulate tourism and economic development throughout Upstate New York, and I am pleased to see it open ahead of schedule for taxpayers, commuters and businesses.
The $31.1 million final phase included building six bridges along Route 15 in the town of Lindley. The six bridges span three local roads and three creeks to connect the new highway built during the first phase of the project.
Prior work involved building a new five-mile stretch of four-lane divided highway between Watson Creek Road and the hamlet of Presho, all within the Town of Lindley. That work was completed at the end of August 2012.
The highway and bridges were built to federal interstate standards, which will allow Route 15 to eventually be designated as Interstate 99. This project completes the final link in an 80-mile stretch of future I-99 between I-86 in Corning and I-180 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. It will allow for an uninterrupted interstate corridor between the two states and make shipping easier between Canada and points north with the southeast and mid-Atlantic states.
New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Commissioner Joan McDonald said, Completing this link has been a high priority and will be a boon to local, regional and statewide economic development. By constructing this highway to federal interstate standards, we have created an uninterrupted corridor for shipping and commerce between New York State and Pennsylvania, which will serve to boost trade with Canada and enhance shipping to points throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.
Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and President of Corning Enterprises Thomas Tranter said, The opening of the new four-lane highway US 15/Future I-99 in the Town of Lindley, which includes an impressive bridge, is the final milestone in establishing this interstate between New York and Pennsylvania. This will be a well-traveled gateway into Central New York and help drive tourism and economic development in our region.
Congressman Tom Reed said, Today we see firsthand what successful local, state, and federal partnerships can produce. Completion of this final phase means New Yorkers will have a safer, more efficient expressway between New York and Pennsylvania, a critical lifeline for our Southern Tier and Finger Lakes economy. Taxpayers will see a direct return from their investment in the form of jobs and economic opportunity both of which will be supported by the improved route. From our offices very first roundtable with regional Highway Commissioners, this project was highlighted as a priority and today, travelers are able to reap its benefits. Thank you to everyone involved for all of their hard work and persistence in seeing this project to fruition.
State Senator Tom OMara said, This is truly exciting and long-awaited progress for the Southern Tier and the states of New York and Pennsylvania. Its also a tribute to the dedication and perseverance of so many community leaders and residents over so many years, and weve appreciated the steadfast commitment of DOT Region 6 to keep moving it forward. Once completed, I-99 will be a better, safer, less congested and more efficient roadway for those who travel it every day. It will represent a vital economic corridor between New York and Pennsylvania. We continue to be grateful for opportunities to mark the milestones on our way to enhancing one of Americas outstanding interstate highway systems.
Assemblyman Phil Palmesano said, I am grateful for the ongoing efforts of DOT Region 6 in staying committed to the completion of U.S. Route 15/future I-99. I also appreciate the local leaders and residents who have worked so long and so hard to see this project through to the end. The future I-99 corridor is such an important economic pipeline for the Southern Tier and a vital connection to I-86.
Assemblyman Chris Friend said, The future I-99 promises economic opportunities and motorist safety enhancements throughout the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions. Its one of our most critical infrastructure improvement projects, and it positions our region at the hub of one of the most vital north-south corridors anywhere along the nations interstate highway system. Im grateful for the hard work of DOT Region 6 to get this job done.
Final work, including landscaping and demobilization, will continue until summer 2014. The construction contractor for the project is Cold Spring Construction of Akron, Erie County.