Modified: June 2, 2015 1:53pm
County’s Concerns on Expense, Maintenance Mitigated by NYS Concessions
ERIE COUNTY, NY— Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz has announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) between Erie County and the New York State Department of Transportation (“NYSDOT”) regarding the South Cascade Drive/Miller Road Bridge over Cattaraugus Creek. Commonly known as the “old Route 219 bridge,” the current 652-foot span connects Erie and Cattaraugus counties and is slated to be replaced by NYSDOT with a new bridge at a cost of $22 million. Ownership of the new bridge had been at the center of a discussion between the counties and NYSDOT as the parties explored the potential transfer of the bridge from the state to the counties. Concessions from NYSDOT providing additional funding for maintenance and repairs on the new bridge in future years ameliorated concerns in these areas for Erie County and made the MOU signing possible.
“The bridge over Cattaraugus Creek is a vital link between Erie and Cattaraugus counties, but is also a massive span that will require significant maintenance as it ages. This would put serious budgetary pressure on Erie County, which already maintains 2,400 lane miles of roads and 290 bridges,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “During negotiations on the potential transfer, the NYSDOT recognized the burden the bridge would impose on our infrastructure and agreed to lighten the load with funding concessions that made the transfer more realistic and the MOU possible.”
The MOU calls for the state to provide $300,000 in funding (to be split between the counties) for bridge maintenance; NYSDOT will pay for the first 10 years of bridge washing on the new span; and the state will pay annually for ordinary maintenance costs that are above and beyond the estimated maintenance costs for the life of the bridge, approximately 75 years. In addition, under the MOU, the state will construct two or more cable conduits along the length of the bridge in order to extend high-speed Internet service from Erie to Cattaraugus County.
The MOU has also been presented by NYSDOT to Cattaraugus County for their review and consideration.