Bridges Are Part of Governor’s Program to Replace Scour-Critical and Flood Prone Bridges
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that work will begin next week on a $6.5 million project to replace two bridges carrying Route 5 and Route 20 over Tonawanda Creek in Genesee County. The bridges are among the first under contract as part of New York State’s scour critical/flood prone bridge program. The Governor has requested funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to strengthen 105 bridges through its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
“These two bridges are essential to Genesee County’s transportation system and it’s important that they are able to withstand flooding and the impact of extreme weather,” Governor Cuomo said. “This is the first of many bridge replacement projects that will help New York build back better and stronger for the next storm.”
The project will improve safety and harden bridge supports against future scour and flood damage. Better channel alignment will provide for improved passage of floodwaters. The bridge carrying Route 5 is located east of Wortendyke Road on the west side of Batavia. The bridge carrying Route 20 is located east of Route 98 in Alexander. The start of work will be weather dependent.
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.
FEMA has approved construction funding for 80 bridges totaling $278.4 million. Funding approval for the remaining 25 bridges is anticipated this spring.
Work at both locations will be phased, using temporary traffic signals to allow alternating one way traffic to use one half of the bridge while the other half is reconstructed. This will eliminate the need for detours. Work is scheduled to be complete on Route 20 in Alexander this fall and on Route 5 in Batavia next spring.
The purpose of New York’s $518 million scour critical/flood prone bridge program is to upgrade and enhance the resiliency of 105 bridges to ensure they are protected from future threats. 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.
Senator Charles E. Schumer said, “It is not enough to simply rebuild and repair; we must also prepare ourselves for the next storm and the next potential flood. That’s exactly what this federal grant will do, helping to lower the risk of flood damage to two key bridges over the Tonawanda Creek. Spending a penny today on flood-prevention efforts could save Genesee County homeowners a dollar tomorrow in repair costs. Investing in local infrastructure creates jobs in the short term and bolsters our economy in the long term by enabling us to move goods, people and tourists safely and efficiently.”
State Senator Mike Ranzenhofer said, "Replacing New York's crumbling infrastructure should not be put on the back burner. That is why I am so pleased that these two bridges are being replaced. In doing so, motorists will be able to travel safely and these bridges will be strong enough to withstand major storms and floods."
Assemblyman Stephen Hawley said, “The much-needed repairs are welcomed and needed for our motoring public as well as agriculture and emergency vehicles. I look forward to these projects being completed and I want to thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership on ensuring that we strengthen vulnerable infrastructure against future severe weather.”
Raymond Cianfrini, Chair of the Genesee County Legislature said, “These bridges are an important part of the daily lives of our residents and businesses and serve as a vital life line for emergency personnel. I applaud Governor Cuomo and our federal partners in pushing for this funding that will strengthen this critical infrastructure in our community for years to come.”
New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Commissioner Joan McDonald said, “Governor Cuomo was instrumental in getting federal funding so that we can improve these 105 bridges and make them better able to withstand the extreme weather that has become more common during the last several years. Keeping the bridges open during construction will ensure mobility for the communities and keep disruptions for the traveling public to a minimum.”
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 FEMA, the program aims to increase the State’s resiliency, reduce hardship and mitigate the risks of loss and damage associated with future disasters.
The scour critical/flood prone bridge 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.
All of the bridges included in this program were built to the codes and standards of their time and remain safe and open for everyday traffic. Due to a variety of severe weather events and the increasing frequency of major storms and floods, however, they are vulnerable to scour or flooding caused by the intensity and velocity of water from extreme natural events.
Completion of the program will afford residents of communities across the State continued access to critical lifesaving services in the event of an emergency. Additionally, strengthening bridges will reduce the potential for highway travel delays and detours during heavy rains and floods.
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.
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