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Thruway repairs hit bump in the road, completion delayed until spring

Mike Desmond

The Thruway Authority has sent a letter to the Seneca Nation regarding the portion of the I-90 running through the Cattaraugus Territory that describes how the condition of the roadway is worse than expected. Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew Driscoll notes repairs are being made to I-90, in accordance with the agreement reached between the authority and Seneca Nation in September. However, he says engineers have determined the concrete base of the roadway is in worse shape than expected.

"In fact, we found that the concrete base of the roadway is crumbling and badly cracking in many locations, making it ineffective for our crews to simply pave over it," he says. "A new and durable asphalt driving surface requires a sound concrete base, and its current condition as confirmed by our engineers’ assessment will simply not allow for that."

Although a detailed engineering report is still being completed, Driscoll says the work cannot be completed by the end of the fall, as originally planned.

The Thruway Authority is putting the project out to bid for work to begin in the spring. In the meantime, he says crews are continuing to make temporary repairs to those areas of the roadway and shoulder in the worst shape, in preparation for winter.

"This more extensive project, which will be a full depth replacement, will include the removal of approximately five inches of the current roadway surface, repairs to the underlying concrete pavement and complete asphalt replacement," he says. "In addition to the improved driving surface, the project will include numerous safety upgrades such as guiderail replacement, ditch cleaning and new striping."

On Monday, the Seneca Nation issued the following statement in response to Driscoll's letter:

"The Nation is aware of the condition of the Thruway and the extent, nature and timing of the necessary repairs. The approach outlined in Commissioner Driscoll's letter is included in the agreement we signed in September. The Nation will allow the Thruway Authority to proceed with the more extensive repairs, as agreed to, in order to ensure the safety of the traveling public."

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