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Several Hamburg roads are on the short list for early repair

HAMBURG — The Erie County Department of Public Works’ Division of Highways’ 2014 schedule of highway, bridge and culvert projects includes work totaling $27 million and encompassing more than 60 individual projects in 20 municipalities across Erie County.

In response to damage to roadways caused by the severe winter, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has increased the county’s construction budget by $4.5 million above the $22.5 million previously approved as part of the Erie County budget.

Poloncarz submitted a resolution to the Erie County Legislature, requesting preapproval of highway construction, design and testing contracts and authority to appropriate funds for the highway work.

“Two weeks ago, the Legislature was told there could be a delay in starting projects and that is unacceptable, especially this year, when we are facing a difficult task,” said Erie County Legislature Chairman John Mills. “To expedite the process, the Legislature called a special session to approve this year’s projects and ensure we have shovels in the ground as soon as possible.”

“This past winter was extremely harsh on the county’s highways and damage is widespread, despite highway crews’ constant cold-weather efforts to address potholes and maintain roads where possible,” Poloncarz said. “In response to the hard winter, I am increasing the highway construction budget by $4.5 million to address road issues countywide.

Now that warmer weather is here, we need to move quickly to accomplish as many highway projects as possible during the upcoming construction season,” Poloncarz added. “These projects span Erie County and include many roads in need of a lot of work, so I am recommending the Legislature approve these construction projects as soon as possible, in order that the department of public works may commence the processes necessary to repair these roads.”

More than 119 total lane miles of county road will see improvements, this season. The additional $4.5 million will be allocated through a combination of 2013 budget surplus funds, additional State Consolidated Highway Improvement Program funds and surplus transfer tax revenues, and will have no negative impact on the budget. It will allow the county to perform work on nearly a dozen additional roads affected by the winter, including:

– Bayview Road in Hamburg.

– Pleasant Avenue in Hamburg.

– Lake Avenue in Hamburg.

– Cayuga Creek Road in Cheektowaga.

– Waverly Road in Concord.

– Eckhardt Road in Eden.

Other projects included in the agenda, part of the original $22.5 million in the approved capital budget, include the mill and overlay of heavily trafficked roads, such as Sowles Road from Route 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 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.

Additional road and bridge work, including bridge replacements, micropaving and oil and chipping, will take place in numerous municipalities across the county, including Whitehaven Road in Grand Island, Center Street in Aurora/Holland and Boston State Road in Hamburg/Boston.

Erie County Legislator Lynne Dixon announced that the road project list also included funding to repave Sowles Road in Hamburg.

“I travel Sowles Road often and I know it is in critical need of repair,” Dixon said. “Many residents came to me with their concerns and I delivered a citizen petition with numerous signatures calling for action. I am pleased that this roadway is finally getting the attention it needs from the administration. We couldn’t let another year go by without repaving Sowles.”

Poloncarz said, “Projects big and small are ready to get underway across Erie County, and the clock is ticking. Residents should know that their complaints have been heard and we are improving our infrastructure through a major investment of county, state, and federal funds and we are eager to get to work on these roads and bridges.”

Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo said, “We represent a large percentage of the county roadways and know our roads are deteriorating. Recovering from this harsh winter won’t be easy.”

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