Federal funding secured to replace former Route 219 bridge over Cattaraugus Creek

Posted on May 20th, 2013

The Salamanca Press (May 20, 2013)

New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Commissioner Joan McDonald today announced the allocation of federal funding to replace the former Route 219 (South Cascade Drive and Miller Road) Bridge over Cattaraugus Creek in the towns of Concord, Erie County and Ashford, Cattaraugus County.

“The State Department of Transportation continues to work with our federal, state and local officials under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, to improve our transportation infrastructure to serve the needs of our communities,” said Commissioner McDonald. “Area residents and local businesses made it clear that they depend heavily on this bridge crossing as an important transportation link between Erie and Cattaraugus counties, and a vital conduit for the local economy.”

Due to structural concerns, the existing bridge, built in 1956, was temporarily closed to all traffic in 2012. Emergency structural repairs were accelerated by the Department and the bridge was re-opened ahead of schedule. The bridge remains open and posted for a maximum weight limit of 15 tons.

“Along with local highway and elected officials, our office has been advocating for much needed repairs along the Route 219 corridor since being elected to Congress, and we are pleased to hear the state has decided to improve such a critical lifeline to our local economy as the Route 219 Bridge,” said Representative Tom Reed whose district includes Cattaraugus County.

“During a meeting with highway commissioners just last month, we discussed the Route 219 project and its prospects. Today, thanks to successful partnerships with local, state and federal partners, we are pleased to join in recognizing that funds will ensure safe, reliable transportation for all who use the 219 corridor.”

Congressman Chris Collins said, “While divided by Cattaraugus Creek, southern Erie and Cattaraugus counties are, in many ways, one community. The former Route 219 Bridge is critical to this dynamic. Its replacement will ensure safe and convenient travel will occur between these two counties for a long time to come to the benefit of the local economy. This is an appropriate use of federal tax dollars and I look forward to the completion of this project.”

“Making this federal funding available satisfies a critical transportation need,” said Congressman Brian Higgins, whose congressional district included the Erie County portion of the bridge until January 2013. “Not long ago, when the condition of the bridge severely impacted local merchants, our office joined with residents, community leaders and our partners in government to address the situation. Now, with the allocation of these federal funds, the state can ensure this critical link remains open for businesses and as well as for regional and international visitors who use the 219 corridor every day.”

Senator Catharine Young said, “The long term prospects for the bridge were in doubt, and we worked with Governor Cuomo to secure its future. It was a huge relief to small businesses and residents when it reopened after repairs, and now rebuilding the bridge is tremendously important to our economy and quality of life. This project will create construction jobs and continue commerce. I salute the Governor and DOT for their leadership, and thank local residents for their advocacy. Citizens can and do make a difference every day.”

“For years the residents and businesses of Springville and northern Cattaraugus County have made their sentiments known that the old Route 219 Bridge is more than a viaduct connecting two counties; it is an essential component of their local identity and economic future,” said Senator Patrick Gallivan. “Today’s news that federal funding has been secured to replace the existing structure with a modern span is a direct result of their years of patience and persistence. I thank my partners in state and federal government who have helped realize this day, but the true thanks belongs to the citizens who made it their mission to ensure their community’s voices were heard and its interests defended.”

“For several years, I have heard from residents and businesses along Route 219 in both Cattaraugus and Erie counties,” said Assemblyman Joseph Giglio. “It’s critically important that the replacement of this bridge over Cattaraugus Creek is completed. I applaud the Department of Transportation for allocating funds for the project, and for continuing to be fully engaged with the community about the repair and replacement of the bridge.”

“I campaigned on securing the funding to replace this bridge for the people of my district, and I want to thank everyone who helped to accomplish this goal,” said Assemblyman David DiPietro. “I’m glad we were able to come through for the people of my community, who have been more than patient about the completion of this major project.”

The safety of the traveling public is NYSDOT’s primary mission. NYSDOT monitors bridge safety through a thorough and rigorous inspection system. The South Cascade Drive and Miller Road Bridge over Cattaraugus Creek is inspected annually.

The project to replace the South Cascade Drive and Miller Road Bridge is now in preliminary design and is scheduled to begin construction in 2015.

The Salamanca Press