By NICOLE GUGINO
OBSERVER Assistant News Editor
IRVING - Commuters between Chautauqua and Erie counties have waited a long time to hear construction on the Route 5/20 bridge will begin.
Bids have been received on the construction of the Routes 5 & 20 bridge.
The wait is nearly over, according to Department of Transportation Public Information Officer Susan Surdej.
Surdej reported the project was put out to bid and the bids have been received.
"We are to the point where the project was put out to bid, we received the bids and now we are at the stage where we are reviewing the bids. Once we have reviewed the bids we will award the contract," Surdej said.
She said reviewing the bids can take up to six weeks, but she said she expects the bids will be awarded in about a month.
"We will see construction this summer," she confirmed.
The $14.7 million project has two parts: first, two thirds of the bridge will be built, the old bridge demolished and the rest of the bridge completed. Second, a roundabout will be put in to connect Routes 5, 20, 438 and Buffalo Road.
The project to replace the bridge has had its snags in the past, but after a change in the alignment to the east side, closer to Seneca Hawk truck stop, the project seemed to be moving along. In fall 2011 emergency stabilization of the creek bank was completed.
The objectives for the project as listed on the DOT website are to restore the condition rating of the bridge to 5, or greater, for at least 30 years, provide adequate capacity for the intersection while providing significant safety improvements, correct safety deficiencies, provide cost effective improvements to the existing transportation facility which will mitigate adverse social, economic and environmental impacts, minimize adverse effects on historical and recreation sites and meet local community planning goals. Also, improve mobility through the project area for pedestrians, bicyclists and large vehicles.
The bridge was built in 1931 and is the only bridge in New York state on flood watch. It is also the only bridge besides the Thruway to cross Cattaraugus Creek between Chautauqua and Erie counties. In 2007 the bridge received a condition rating of 3.875 on a scale of 1-9 where 9 is the best.
More information on the project can be found at www.nysdot.gov, clicking the projects link at the top and entering PIN 5034.98.