$5.4 Million Infrastructure Project in Jefferson County Will Mitigate Flood Hazard by Stabilizing and Elevating Single Access Road
$500,000 Swing Bridge Project in Monroe County Will Ensure Continued Access to Homes and Local Businesses
Part of New York State's Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative
Photos Are Available Here
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the completion of construction on a $5.4 million project awarded to Jefferson County, through New York State's Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative. This project addressed the flooding of a 1,800 linear foot section of County Road 57 and its shoulder, which falls between Chaumont Bay and Lake Ontario. During high water events the use and safety of the residentsand first responders traveling this route is negatively impacted, requiring the County Highway Department crews to routinely monitor and periodically close, clear, and repair the roadway, as it provides the only land access to the peninsula for area homes.
"New York is continuing its promise to assist shoreline communities in combatting the impact of flooding due to climate change. Through our partnerships with local government, we are building back better, smarter and more resilient for the future," Governor Kathy Hochul said. "Our top priority is protecting the people who live in these communities, and through the REDI program we are focused on seeing our mission through from start to finish."
Resiliency measures implemented in this project included raising the vulnerable section of roadway three feet to mitigate potential flooding and halt further road deterioration. Additionally, rip rap was installed to provide wind, wave, and ice protection, and a culvert was installed to create an underpass for safe passage of the Blanding's turtle, a threatened species in New York State.
Given this long stretch of road bordered on both sides by sensitive wetland habitat with no existing crossing structures for the nearby population of Blanding's turtles, in coordination with DEC, this project also includes a turtle crossing. A major challenge for the Blanding's turtle is the destruction of its nesting and wetland habitats. Roads that cross turtle migration routes between wetlands and ponds where turtles hibernate and upland areas where turtles nest are particularly hazardous to this species, as vehicle strikes are common. Loss of adult females by vehicle strikes is likely the most significant cause of population declines across the species' range. Since Blanding's turtles mature late and their populations depend on adults reproducing throughout their relatively long lifespan, the loss of even a single female can have a major impact on a population.
Governor Hochul also announced construction is complete at the Irondequoit Bay Outlet Swing Bridge, Monroe County. The structure, which spans the Irondequoit Bay Outlet and connects the Town of Irondequoit and Town of Webster, is rotated closed to vehicular travel from April 1 to November 1 to provide safe navigation from Lake Ontario to Irondequoit Bay. From November 1 to April 1 the bridge is rotated open to vehicular travel. The control mechanisms that rotate the bridge are located in an open pit underneath the bridge. During times of high water, these mechanisms are subject to flooding, making them susceptible to premature wear and potential failure. This completed project will help ensure that the swing bridge remains operational and reliable for the life of the structure. Monroe County was awarded $500,000 by the REDI commission for the swing bridge project. Mitigation measures in the project included waterproofing the mechanical pit wall and providing sumps to facilitate water removal in the pit area.
State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, "By raising this flood-prone section of County Road 57, which endured repeated closures prior to this important work, we are ensuring vehicles can safely get to where they need to go in times of inclement weather. Additionally, the completed work on the Irondequoit Bay Outlet Swing Bridge will help to ensure travelers safe passage between the Town of Irondequoit and Town of Webster. The Department of Transportation is proud to continue working with state and local REDI partners on each one of these projects that help New Yorkers. With each completed project we are building safer and more sustainable shoreline communities to better withstand the repeated extreme weather events we now face."
State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner and REDI Co-Chair Basil Seggos said, "By implementing REDI projects like the improvements to County Road 57 here in Jefferson County and the Irondequoit Bay Outlet Swing Bridge, Monroe County, New York State is building stronger, more resilient shoreline communities after repeated high water events devastated the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. The completion of this project is a critical step to ensure that residents and businesses in this area are better prepared and protected from severe storms. In addition, the project's turtle crossing will help protect the threatened Blanding's turtle."
New York State Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "New York is moving to build a more resilient state with infrastructure that can withstand future changes. The installation of new control mechanisms to the swing bridge will help preserve safe navigation alternatives during extreme weather events. This innovative investment will ensure transportation safety between the Irondequoit Bay Outlet and the Town of Irondequoit and Town of Webster, providing significant benefits to residents along this stretch of shoreline."
New York State Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services Commissioner Patrick A. Murphy said, "Keeping our roads and bridges accessible and reliable for emergency services personnel is critical to their mission of protecting the public and saving lives. First responders in Monroe County will now have uninterrupted access during the winter months when the bridge is open thanks to this important infrastructure project. REDI continues to succeed at its mission of improving resilience along the southern shores of Lake Ontario, protecting communities like Irondequoit and Webster."
Senator Samra Brouk said, "I am pleased to see completion on another project improving our Lake Shore communities. By making the Irondequoit-Webster swing bridge more resistant to flooding and high waters, we are minimizing the likelihood that mechanical failures impact our region. I look forward to supporting additional improvements to our infrastructure as we continue to combat the effects of rising water levels from Lake Ontario."
Senator Patty Ritchie said, "When it comes to enjoying the beauty of Lake Ontario, Point Peninsula is one of Jefferson County's most popular spots. However, in recent years, record flooding has made the roadway hazardous for travel. I'm pleased to see this project reach completion and know it will play a key role not only in protecting from future high water, but also in helping people enjoy all Lake Ontario offers."
Assemblyman Mark Walczyk said, "While we may have lucked out this year and managed to avoid a high-water event, it's pretty clear that lake and river communities need to be ready for future high-water events. The State made the right call driving resources to infrastructure projects, like this one to fortify a portion of County Route 57, to keep the area infrastructure sound and residents safe."
Jefferson County Chairperson Scott Gray said, "The County Route 57 project also known as The Isthmus epitomizes the REDI commission projects. It captures the essence of resiliency by raising the roadbed 3 feet and the seawalls a total of 8 feet to halt nearly annual washouts in high water conditions and accompanied danger of rocks catapulted by the high waves. This is a collaboration between Jefferson countyand New York State that has served the public well and will ultimately save the taxpayer money."
In response to the extended pattern of flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, REDI was created to increase the resilience of shoreline communities and bolster economic development in the region. Five REDI Regional Planning Committees, comprised of representatives from eight counties (Niagara and Orleans, Monroe, Wayne, Cayuga and Oswego, and Jefferson and St. Lawrence) were established to identify local priorities, at-risk infrastructure and other assets, and public safety concerns.
The REDI Commission allocated $20 million for homeowner assistance, $30 million to improve the resiliency of businesses, and $15 million toward a regional dredging effort that will benefit each of the eight counties in the REDI regions. The remaining $235 million has been allocated towards local and regional projects that advance and exemplify the REDI mission.
Since the creation of the State's REDI program in the Spring of 2019, 133 REDI funded local and regional projects are underway, including 90 projects in the design phase, 17 projects in the construction phase, and 26 projects completed.
For additional information, project profiles and REDI news, click here.
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