Congressman Higgins wrote to commissioner advocating for new bridge resistant to ice jams
In a letter to Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, the New York State Department of Transportation confirmed the Harlem Road bridge in West Seneca will be reconstructed with design features that will be more resistant to ice jam flooding.
In January, an ice jam formed in the vicinity of the bridge resulted in severe flooding in a neighborhood upstream. Higgins wrote to DOT commissioner Joan McDonald Jan. 29 noting the bridge is scheduled for replacement next year and calling for the new bridge to be redesigned in a manner that better protects area residents.
"The flooding in January was devastating for local homeowners, and the continued threat of flooding puts residents on edge with each thaw," Higgins said. "I commend the DOT for their commitment to thoughtful redesign that takes into consideration the needs of the community and provides a positive step forward in a long-term, flood-resistant solution for these neighborhoods."
In a response to the congressman, the commissioner wrote, "I am pleased to inform you that the New York State Department of Transportation is actively advancing the project to replace the Harlem Road (NY Route 240) bridge over the Buffalo River with a structure that will improve the follow of water at the bridge location."
She went on to detail the new flood-resistant features. "The bridge over the Buffalo River is 103 years old. It has four piers in the waterway and carries two lanes of traffic in each direction. The replacement structure will be wider and have only one pier. This reduction in the number of piers will allow improved flow beneath the bridge."
The bridge replacement is slated to cost approximately $12 million, 80 percent of which is funded through federal highway aid. The commissioner also said the department will look for opportunities to expedite the delivery of the project, as requested by Higgins.