As the first real signs of Spring finally arrive in Erie County, our thoughts turn to outdoor activities and what needs to be done during the upcoming highway construction season. Despite county highway crews’ diligence and energy in filling potholes and making road repairs when possible during the recent cold months, winter damage took a heavy toll on our roads. So, after enduring the interminable winter that Erie County just experienced, it’s not surprising that area drivers and area roads are both ready for some relief. That relief is on the way.
In response to significant damage to roadways caused by the severe winter, I increased the County’s construction budget by $4.5 million. As a result, the Erie County Department of Public Works’ Division of Highways’ 2014 schedule of highway and bridge projects will total more than $27 million and encompasses over 60 individual projects in 20 municipalities across Erie County. This additional investment is prudent, timely and necessary to address road issues countywide in the shortest time possible. When paired with 2013’s $36 million in investments in county highway and bridge repair projects, this year’s budgeted amount pushes our two-year outlay in county infrastructure to $63 million. As I’ve said before, maintaining and improving our roads and bridges will always be a top priority of my administration.
Residents will see a significant return on this investment as well, with several big projects and numerous smaller ones scheduled. More than 119 total lane miles of county road, or approximately 10% of the total county-owned road system, will see improvements this season, including the mill and overlay of heavily trafficked roads such as Sowles Road from Rte. 20 to McKinley in Hamburg, Hopkins Road from Dodge to Klein in Amherst, and Eden-Evans Center Road from I-90 to Derby in Evans. Other significant projects include Goodrich Road in Clarence from Lapp Road to the Niagara County Line and Brighton Road in Amherst from Niagara Falls Boulevard to Fries. Elsewhere, Bayview Road, Pleasant Avenue, and Lake Avenue in Hamburg, Cayuga Creek Road in Cheektowaga, Waverly Road in Concord, and Eckhardt Road in Eden will see repairs. Erie County is also ready to perform significant site work to repair Connor Road in Clarence if the Town of Clarence agrees to complete the work and take over ownership and future maintenance of the road. Dozens of bridges in Erie County are also scheduled for painting, decking, and other improvements this season.
With the clock already ticking, I am pleased that the Erie County Legislature agreed to expedite the contracting process for these projects in order to get the construction season moving as soon as possible. It’s important to the traveling public that work begins quickly and it’s also important to act now to prevent further weather-related damage to our roads. With this extensive schedule of road work for 2014, we are reaffirming our commitment to keeping our roads in the condition that residents expect.