I-86 Bridge Repair Draws Complaints

Photos by Michael Smoker The I-86 Veterans Memorial Bridge is down to two lanes during a planned repair and upgrade project which is scheduled to be completed in 2026. The $78 million project has been criticized by some people for the lack of appropriate signage, potholes and for having an unbalanced load distribution between the two ends of the bridge.

BEMUS POINT – New signs on the Veterans Memorial Bridge are intended to better direct people toward Bemus Point while the bridge is replaced.

The bridge was a topic of discussion earlier this week at the Bemus Point Village Board meeting. One meeting attendee said, simply, “It’s a mess up there.”

Mayor Jeff Molnar said updated signs have been posted. The bridge was closed overnight Thursday into Friday morning.

“We’ve had a few people this week and last week show up at the office and were confused by the signs on the bridge – they ended up in Jamestown – but were trying to come here,” said Britany Mulin, village clerk/treasurer.

That wasn’t the only issue raised during the meeting.

An aerial shot of the construction on the I-86 Veterans Memorial Bridge, which is undergoing a $78 million repair and upgrade.

“I swear that thing is leaning,” said the village’s Deputy Mayor Ted Farnham. “The way the service road is set up and the potholes – it’s pretty bad up there.”

In a previous Post-Journal article detailed one engineer’s position that much of the concrete barrier on the bridge’s south side has been removed while the north side of the bridge has seen additional concrete “Jersey” barriers added, creating an unbalanced load distribution between the two ends of the bridge. Concerns, according to the engineer’s letter, have been raised by engineers on the project over the past couple of weeks. In an email communication received April 26, a New York Department of Transportation spokeswoman confirmed the issue has led to a reconsideration in the work.

“Safety is always the top priority for the New York State Department of Transportation, and, out of an abundance of caution, the Department is re-evaluating plans for the removal of concrete from the bridges carrying Interstate 86 over Chautauqua Lake,” said Susan Surdej, Western New York regional public information officer.

The $78 million project that began in March will reconstruct the 4,000-foot main bridge that was completed in 1982 as well as the two 500-foot-long bridge structures that split off on the eastern end of the main bridge. The project is slated to be finished in 2026.

Pictured is part of the service road on the Veterans Memorial Bridge, which is currently under repairs and upgrades totaling more than $78 million. The Bridge is part of the I-86 Interstate cordon.


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