SHERMAN Motorists driving on Interstate 86 will soon see new signs stating that the Route 76 bridge in Sherman is dedicated in memory of Alfred F. Jones, a tireless community advocate and public servant.
During a ceremony Monday afternoon, the Route 76 bridge crossing Interstate 86 in the village of Sherman was dedicated as the "Alfred F. Jones Memorial Bridge." State Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I Olean) and State Assemblyman Andrew Goodell (R,C-Chautauqua) sponsored the legislation renaming the bridge.
Alfred F. Jones served his country as a World War II Tank Commander in the 71st Tank Battalion. After the war, he returned to Mayville where he devoted most of his adult life to the promotion and development of Western New York. Alfred F. Jones served as a Chautauqua County Legislator and was a strong advocate for the completion of a 20-mile stretch of Route 17, now designated as Interstate 86.
Submitted photo by Lisa Vanstrom
Assemblyman Andy Goodell and Senator Cathy Young join Alfred F. Jones’ family members at the bridge dedication in his memory.
"Alfred F. Jones dedicated himself to serving his local community and Western New York. The renaming of this bridge is a fitting tribute to his public service for the people he represented, especially because of his focus on improving the infrastructure of the region," Senator Young said.
"Alfred F. Jones was a tireless public servant and an inspirational leader. After serving the nation honorably during World War II he returned to Chautauqua County and gave back to his community as a county legislator and dedicated volunteer," Assemblyman Goodell said.
"Alfred devoted nearly his entire adult life to the promotion and development of Western New York. Now, in his successful campaign for the designation of the Southern Tier Expressway as Interstate 86, his efforts have been realized for all of the Empire State to see. I was proud to join Senator Young in sponsoring this legislation, naming the bridge on Route 76 crossing over Interstate 86, as a tribute to Alfred Jones, and I am excited to see his name take its rightful place along the roadway he worked so diligently to help create," Assemblyman Goodell added.
Karyn Fahey, one of Mr. Jones' daughters, described her father's concern about numerous fatalities on the two-lane stretch of Route 17 between Stow and the state line.
"He was focused on fixing the problem. While he was a County Legislator, that was his big deal. He went to Albany and Washington. He spoke to any organization that would listen. He did it because it was important to the community, and it would save lives," Fahey said.
"Al knew what a danger the road was when it was two lanes. He just pushed and pushed until it was completed. Once Al dug his heels in, he was tough to get off course. We'll never know how many lives were saved," former Chautauqua County Executive Jack Glenzer, who served with Jones, said.
"He has always been community minded, always willing to help people. He wanted to see our area prosper, and Interstate 86 certainly made a huge difference," Carolyn Murray, another daughter of Jones, said.
The dedication of the bridge carries deep meaning and emotional connection for Jones' family.
"I think it's something he'd be extremely proud of. My mom is 85, and she rides in the car with me, so she'll see the signs often," Murray said.
"We were fortunate to have a father who was concerned not only for his family, but also for the community. We couldn't be prouder of his accomplishments," Fahey said.
Chautauqua County Legislator Fred Croscut represents the same district in which Mr. Jones served. "He fought for completion of Chautauqua Lake Bridge and Interstate 86. It does my heart good to see the Route 76 Bridge over I-86 named in his honor," Croscut said.