Tonawanda News — Work on three Niagara County bridges will begin next week following an announcement by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday, measures that he said would not be feasible without the institution of a 2011 law.
The projects costing more than $41 million will rehabilitate portions of the I-190, including one along Military Road, and two others that pass over the New York Power Authority Reservoir in the towns of Niagara and Lewiston.
Cuomo said in a statement that the projects were able to be brought to fruition following the passage of the Design-Build Law that he says streamlines the movement of major infrastructure projects in the state.
“We are using the design-build process for the first time in Western New York to jumpstart bridge projects that are a key part of the region’s vital infrastructure,” Cuomo said. “The design-build process will help us strengthen these bridges on a speedy and efficient schedule that keeps costs low. This is another step forward in our effort reimagine New York’s infrastructure to be ready for the future.”
The law however, is set to expire at the end of this year, which Cuomo said should be extended through legislation. The gist of the law allows design and construction services to combine into a single contract, a scenario that Cuomo said helps expedite repair and infrastructure work and saves taxpayer dollars.
Design-build contractors submit proposals to design and build the bridge at the same time, often leading to a jointly delivered project between contractors.
The Niagara County projects include complete bridge superstructure replacements for the southbound I-190, northbound I-190 and NY 265 bridges over the NYPA Reservoir.
The approach slabs will also be replaced, and repairs will be made to the substructures of the bridges. New guiderails will be installed along both I-190 and NY 265. NY 265 will be resurfaced between its intersections with NY Route 31 and NY Route 104. The project are expected to last through 2016, while much of the work will take place at night.
“Rehabilitating the bridges over the Power Reservoir will restore the integrity of these structures to ensure that they remain serviceable for the next 40 years,” said Joan McDonald, commissioner of the state Department of Transportation.
State Sen. George Maziarz called the repairs “substantial” and “critical.”
“These bridges are at the center of a key travel artery in western Niagara County, and we must make every effort to minimize the impact of construction on area motorists,” he said. “The design-build strategy will help us achieve that goal, not to mention getting the project starter sooner than expected.”