Part of $518 Million Program to Replace Flood Prone Bridges
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that work will begin Monday on a $10.3 million project to replace the Harlem Road Bridge in the towns of Cheektowaga and West Seneca in Erie County. The project is part of the Governor's $518 million program to replace and upgrade scour critical and flood prone bridges to ensure they are protected from future threats. Work is scheduled to be completed in December 2018.
"Our transportation infrastructure is the literal backbone of New York's growth and success, so we must ensure maximum resilience for our bridges to withstand both extreme weather conditions and regular use," Governor Cuomo said. "This project will improve safety and mobility on the road and strengthen the transportation system in Western New York."
The bridge, which carries Route 240, Harlem Road, over the Buffalo River, was built in 1911. This project will replace the aging structure to provide a 75-year minimum service life by improving the water flow to prevent future scour and flooding. The new bridge has been designed with only one bridge pier in the water instead of the four bridge piers that currently exist. The Governor secured funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to strengthen 105 bridges through its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and the FY 2017 State Budget allocated additional funding for this project.
Congressman Brian Higgins said, "This project, which includes over $8 million in federal funding, provides for replacement of a 105 year old bridge, supporting critical infrastructure investments in West Seneca and needed relief for residents who have struggled with reoccurring flooding in their neighborhoods,” said Congressman Brian Higgins, who in 2014 advocated for design features that make the structure more resistant to ice jam flooding."
Senator Patrick Gallivan said, "Continued investment in our roads and bridges is critical. This new bridge replaces a span that is over 100 years old and will help prevent future flooding along the Buffalo River while improving traffic flow and safety for both motorists and pedestrians along Harlem Road."
Senator Tim Kennedy said, "Western New York is known for its tough winters, and that extreme weather can take a toll on our roadways. Study after study shows that well-maintained roads have a direct impact on local economies, and that strong transportation networks are vital to the success of our communities. By investing in our infrastructure and projects like this, Governor Cuomo and the Department of Transportation are demonstrating they are committed to investing in our future."
Assemblyman Michael Kearns said, "New York State Investment in our roads and bridges is a critical component of Western New York’s economy because investment in our infrastructure will lead to new development in our towns, cities and villages."
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew Driscoll said, "Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, federal funding is being secured to replace the bridge structures that are most vulnerable to severe weather. We are making the traveling public our priority and keeping the bridges open during construction to minimize delays to motorists in adherence with the Driver’s First initiative established by Governor Cuomo."
Scour Critical/Flood Prone Bridge Program
The scour critical/flood prone bridge program will protect and strengthen critical infrastructure routes across New York State, assuring transportation access in emergencies and enhancing mobility for continued economic growth. The bridges were identified by the State Department of Transportation as the most at-risk for repeated flooding with a focus on structures in the Capital District, Long Island, Mid-Hudson, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions. The program is the product of an unprecedented collaboration between the State's Department of Transportation, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery. It puts New York State at the cutting edge of innovative flood recovery and mitigation activities.
Bridge scour erodes and carries away foundation materials, such as sand and rocks, from around and beneath bridge abutments, piers, foundations and embankments. Upgrading these bridges will ensure access to emergency services during and after flood events, as well as reduce the risk of flooding where bridge openings cause rivers and streams to back up.
Harlem Road Bridge Project
In June 2013, Governor Cuomo announced a call for projects to be funded by the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to assist local governments and non-profit organizations in rebuilding stronger, more sustainable communities. Authorized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the program aims to increase the State’s resiliency, reduce hardship and mitigate the risks of loss and damage associated with future disasters.
The new bridge will have five lanes that carry two lanes of traffic in each direction with a center turn lane that transitions into the left turn lane at the intersection with Route 354, Clinton Street. It will also have wide shoulders and sidewalks that will safely accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians through the Harlem Road corridor.
The new Harlem Road Bridge over the Buffalo River will be built on an alignment west of the existing bridge. The new alignment will allow traffic to be maintained on site while the new bridge is being constructed. The horizontal alignment of Harlem Road will be improved by smoothening the sharp turn that currently exists north of Clinton Street.
Access to the Buffalo River will also be enhanced from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation parking lot, and a car-top boat launch area will be constructed.
Motorists are reminded that fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone. In accordance with the Work Zone Safety Act of 2005, convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual’s driver’s license.
For real-time travel information, call 511, visit www.511NY.org, or logon to the new mobile site at m.511ny.org. Follow New York State DOT on Twitter: @NYSDOT and @NYSDOTBuffalo. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/NYSDOT.
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