Weekly Feature

2017-09-06 / Editorials

County must prioritize road upgrades and fixes

Erie County Legislator

Roads. The vast majority of us use them every single day. The question is, are you satisfied with the condition of these roads? Unfortunately, the answer we hear in my legislative office is a resounding “no.”

During recent tours of roads in my district, I spoke with several constituents who were growing increasingly concerned about the status of the roadways, timeline for repairs and what to do in the meantime. I understand that resources are limited and that the county must prioritize work, but I don’t think the administration has sufficiently prioritized North Amherst, Clarence and Akron/Newstead.

For example, Goodrich Road is a main thoroughfare that the county executive highlighted when he campaigned back in 2011. Years later, work is not complete. Despite strong advocacy from the Town Board, residents and my office, Goodrich has been significantly delayed. As of today, we are looking at completion sometime in late August 2018. Leading up to that, crews will be relocating utilities and replacing culverts. After those necessary steps are taken, the road can be fixed. I am told that temporary paving will also take place to get the roadway through one more winter. Come next year, the shoulder will be widened, ditch improvements will be made and the 2-mile stretch of roadway will be excavated and repaved. I am tired of apologizing to my constituents, but better late than never.

On Tonawanda Creek Road, the situation is worse. This is the only major road in Erie County that is closed. This is a significant public safety threat because the area soil is unstable and a portion of the roadway has actually fallen into the creek. Each time I converse with the county Public Works officials, I plead to expedite the funding and approval process. I will continue to push the awareness and prioritization of this project. The North Clarence community cannot wait until 2019.

In 2017, Erie County funded a portion of this construction cost, but this $3 million repair requires the collaboration of several levels of government. In 2013, Sen. Charles Schumer visited the site to emphasize the need for repair. I urge him and all our representatives to do whatever they can to move up the start date for this project. I am hopeful and optimistic that we are moving more quickly on this disastrous situation.

The list goes on. Conner Road in Clarence has horrible flooding and pothole issues, but without any real resolve. Burdick Road, East Avenue and Newstead Road in Akron/Newstead need repair. There are also safety concerns on New Road in Amherst. Maple Road, with at least 25,000 cars a day, is always an issue. Right now, we are in the midst of implementing a new plan based on the results of “test strips” because we can’t keep doing bandage repairs.

As a reminder, Salt Road Bridge between Clarence Center Road and Keller Road remains closed until the end of October, while the portion of Salt Road between Lapp and Rapids reopened last week. If you have any questions or comments, contact my office at 858-8676 or email edward.rath@erie.gov.

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