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March 5, 2020 - 12:28pm

From Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

In light of years of stagnant investment in the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) and a proposed elimination of $65 in Extreme Winter Recovery funds by Gov. Cuomo, Assemblyman Steve Hawley rallied Wednesday in Albany with highway superintendents from around the state calling for infrastructure investment parity.

For several years, CHIPS funding has been held stagnant at $438.1 million statewide despite billions of dollars in increases to fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and repair downstate bridges.

This funding is used to repair and pave streets and highways. Furthermore, Gov. Cuomo has proposed cutting $65 million in Extreme Winter Recovery funds which are used by areas experiencing harsh winters to speed up recovery and repair processes.

“Whenever the MTA cries broke Gov. Cuomo is right there willing to throw more tax dollars their way, yet Upstate has to fight tooth and nail each year for a little bit extra to ensure we have safe travel,” Hawley said. “Millions of upstate residents, emergency services vehicles, farmers and manufacturers use our roads each day and their safety and quality of life matter just as much as a subway patron.

"We are seeking a $100 million increase to CHIPS and a restoration of the $65 million Extreme Winter Recovery fund – a small and reasonable step toward parity in a budget totaling over $175 billion. I will continue fighting to see that upstate gets it fair share this year!”

February 28, 2020 - 4:00pm

Press release:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation has granted Upstate New York counties devastated by the Halloween storm last year, $9,200,000 in federal funding through the Emergency Relief (ER) program.

The $9.2 million will go toward repairing roads and highways in Upstate New York, both of which were seriously damaged during the flooding, including those in the NY-27 Congressional District.

“This grant is good news for everyone in Upstate New York," Schumer said. "Last Halloween, our state, from one corner to the other, saw severe damaged after being ravaged by heavy rain, flooding, and tempestuous winds.

"This federal aid will finally begin the process of healing and recovery for these Upstate communities and ease the burden of natural disasters on New York taxpayers."

Senator Gillibrand said: “I’m grateful we could deliver federal aid to communities across Upstate New York that are still suffering from the extensive damage caused by the Halloween storms. This grant is an important first step in ensuring these communities get the resources they need to rebuild.”

During the Halloween storm, 12 counties received at least 3 inches of rain, which is nearly a month’s worth in most Upstate areas, and 27 counties received flood warnings and flash flood warnings.

Furthermore, winds blew between 60 and 70 miles per hour, knocking down countless trees, destroying private property and leaving hundreds of thousands of Upstate New Yorkers without power.

In the Mohawk Valley, hundreds of residents were evacuated and many properties remain uninhabitable. The storm even tragically took the life of a priest, Father Tom Connery, in Herkimer County, who was trapped in his vehicle during one of the flash floods.

In Western New York, floodwaters and wind caused millions in damage across the Lakes Erie and Ontario shorelines.

Schumer and Gillibrand have long advocated for federal recognition of the disaster and called repeatedly for funding to begin repairs. The DOT funding will go toward the 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, and 27 Congressional districts.

February 19, 2020 - 3:26pm


After more than a dozen years of effort by county officials, the aging bridge over the Tonawanda Creek at South Lyon Street may finally get replaced, perhaps sooner rather than later.

The project has been approved for a $498,400 federal grant.

Yesterday, the Public Service Committee recommended approval of a resolution authorizing the county to spend an additional $124,600 from the county's 1-percent share of sales tax and beginning the design phase of the project.

Highway Superintendent Tim Hens said under current terms of the grant, administered by the state, construction can't begin until 2023 but the county will push to accelerate the project.

"We are going to design it as quickly as we can and then we're going to press to have it funded in advance of (October 2022)," Hens said. "It depends on what money is available at state level and in the region. If projects get delayed or something comes in under budget, well, there is a possibility there might be money lying around that we could jump on."

Hens said he first submitted the project for Federal funding in 2006. The funds were awarded in 2007 but then the recession of 2008 meant a cut in spending. He resubmitted it in 2011 but Federal authorities determined that as a single-lane bridge, it didn't warrant saving.

"We argued that the traffic counts are higher than you think they are," Hens said. "We had the city, our city, the DPW, help us out on traffic counts. We had the traffic counts of around 2,500 cars a day at the peak."

The bridge is an important link for traffic between the bridges at Oak Street and at River Street, Hens said. 

In 2014, there were more cuts at the Federal level and it was pulled off the docket again. Hens resubmitted the project in 2017 and was denied funding.

The plan is now, with a grant awarded, to start the design phase immediately, because, Hens said, once money is spent on the project it is less likely to suffer another cut in spending.

"It's posted for five tons now," Hens said. "It's been in pretty rough shape. To make it go another three years might be pushing the limits from an engineering standpoint. It might get to the point where the posting drops enough where you can't get a car over it and it's closed."

The current bridge is Army surplus and was set in place in 1982 and a temporary fix for the old bridge it replaced.

The hope is to design a two-lane bridge. That's tough because the abutment of the current bridge is right under the pavement of South Main Street. Hens said the plan is also to design another truss bridge so that the character of the current bridge is maintained.

January 26, 2020 - 9:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in water main, infrastructure, news, batavia.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Water Department is on location of a water main break in front of 185 Pearl St. The water will be turned off on Pearl Street from 100 Pearl to the western City line.

We appreciate your understanding while this repair is being made. City crews will make every attempt to restore water as soon as possible.

UPDATE 6:30 p.m.: Water service has been restored.

January 10, 2020 - 1:08pm
posted by Billie Owens in Le Roy, North Road, Road Closure, infrastructure, news.

From the county Highway Department:

Please be advised that North Road in the Town of Le Roy will be closed to traffic between Route 19 and Conlon Road on Monday (Jan. 13), Tuesday (Jan. 14) and Wednesday (Jan. 15) for the installation of a water transmission main line across the roadway.

The roadway will be COMPLETELY CLOSED TO ALL TRAFFIC -- including emergency vehicles. A detour will be posted during this time.

January 9, 2020 - 4:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in infrastructure, news, NACE, permitting process.

Information from the National Association of County Engineers. File photo.

Washington, D.C. – National Association of County Engineers (NACE) President and Genesee County (New York) Highway Superintendent Tim Hens participated in a White House event with President Donald J. Trump this morning as he introduced new permitting reforms involving the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

“We welcome reforms that will allow for local governments to address our nation’s aging infrastructure in a timely manner,” Hens said. “These reforms will aid counties in their ability to utilize federal funds for road and bridge expansion, repair and rehabilitation more efficiently and expeditiously.

"We applaud the President and Administration and look forward to working together to ensure these common-sense reforms provide a regulatory landscape that will improve project delivery times while maintaining the environmental protections important to our communities.”

This morning’s event highlighted permit and federal process areas the Administration seeks to streamline, including transportation infrastructure project parameters, which would require a federally mandated environmental review.

America’s counties own 45 percent of the nation’s road inventory and 38 percent of its bridge inventory, while investing more than $122 billion on infrastructure and maintaining and operating public works.

Hens is a 1993 graduate of the Air Force Academy and has served as Genesee County Highway superintendent since 1998. As superintendent he functions as the county engineer and oversees the operation and maintenance of all county-owned infrastructure and equipment, including roads, bridges, parks, facilities, airport and water system.

About the National Association of County Engineers

Now in its 64th year, the association is a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional association representing more than 2,400 county engineers, public works directors, highway commissioners, road managers, and related professionals in the United States and Canada. In the United States, local roads account for about 75 percent of highways and roads, or 2.93 million miles. Counties manage 1.74 million miles of those roads. Counties also own 231,000 bridges and operate one third of the nation’s transit systems and airports.

Photo taken of Tim Hens at a GC Public Service Committee meeting in September 2018.

December 26, 2019 - 3:14pm
posted by Billie Owens in water main repair, Le Roy, news, infrastructure, North Road.

From county Highway Superintendent Tim Hens (president, National Association of County Engineers):

Construction of a major 36" diameter water main is occurring along North Road (CR#40) in the Town of Le Roy.

Construction will restart on Monday, Dec. 30th, and will continue for several weeks.

The road will be closed and will only be accessible by local traffic and emergency vehicles during this time. Major delays can be expected.

Complete roadway shutdowns will occur and be communicated as blasting of bedrock and road crossings occur. Alternate routes are suggested.

November 14, 2019 - 12:47pm
posted by Billie Owens in byron, news, infrastructure.

The Genesee County Highway Department announced this afternoon that Caswell Road is now reopened.

The Caswell Road Bridge between Walkers Corners Road and Cockram Road in Byron was closed Aug. 22nd for road work. It had been due to reopen on Oct. 4.


November 8, 2019 - 7:24pm

Press release:

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez today announced that major construction is complete on a $1.6 million project to replace elements of the bridge carrying U.S. Route 20 over Oatka Creek in the Town of Pavilion, Genesee County.

The bridge, which reopened to traffic today, will be more resilient and capable of withstanding potential damage from flooding or stream debris during inclement weather.

“By making existing infrastructure more resilient to wearing and weather impacts, we are investing in the future of our transportation system,” Commissioner Dominguez said. “The renovations, which DOT incorporated as part of this project provide safe access for users and will greatly benefit Genesee County residents and travelers as part of the Finger Lakes Forward initiative.”

As part of this project, the existing steel truss was replaced with a modern steel multi-girder superstructure that includes a concrete deck. To accommodate all users of the roadway, 12-foot-wide travel lanes and seven-foot-wide shoulders were included in the striping pattern of the bridge to facilitate bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

Multi-girder type bridges have more redundant elements than truss bridges, making them more resilient. Rip rap shoring up the base provides additional strength to the bridge, preventing erosion, and the inclusion of joint-less approaches to the bridge will help reduce corrosion.

Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer said “I am glad that the construction on Route 20 bridge over Oatka Creek is complete. The safety of our roads and bridges is one of my top priorities. With winter fast approaching this construction completion was crucial.”

Assemblyman Steve Hawley said “The Route 20 Bridge over Oatka Creek has been subject to flood waters and damage for some time, and I am pleased to see that repairs have been made and travelers may now cross the bridge with ease and confidence. Safe and reliable infrastructure is paramount for our business owners, local residents and emergency service vehicles, and I will continue to advocate for Western New York’s bridge road and highway needs moving forward.”

During the bridge closure, which began in July, motorists were detoured using nearby state routes 19 and 63. While the bridge is now open to vehicular traffic, there is anticipated cleanup work and shoulder work remaining.

For real-time travel information, motorists should call 511, visit www.511NY.org or download the free 511NY app.

October 9, 2019 - 9:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, infrastructure, batavia.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Water Deptartment is on location of a water main break at the Intersection of Ellicott Street and Clifton Avenue.

Clifton Avenue will be closed to through traffic. Water may be interrupted on Clifton Avenue, and James, William and Ellicott streets between Otis Street and Clifton Avenue, and Harvester Avenue from Ellicott Place to Ellicott Street.

Please do not attempt to do laundry as water may be discolored due to work being done.

September 10, 2019 - 9:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in video, Union Street, batavian, infrastructure.
Video Sponsor

Union Street has been plagued by water main breaks over the past few years but that should be a thing of the past with a new water line in place.

As part of a $2.3 million project, the city has replaced the water mains on Union Street, South Main Street, and Brooklyn Avenue, as well as replacing sidewalks and repaving the streets.

The cost of the project is covered primarily by grants and funds from the federal government, called Community Development Block Grants.

The project also included storm drain improvements at Williams Park.

The contract for the work was awarded in March to Randsco Pipeline Inc.

Today, Union Street was milled in preparation to lay down new asphalt.

September 10, 2019 - 10:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, infrastructure, news.

Press release:

A water main break on Pearl Street at approximately 5 a.m. has resulted in water service interruption in an area between 40 Pearl St. and the City Line.

Crews are preparing to make repairs and replace the pipe. Water service will be restored as soon as is possible.

August 22, 2019 - 12:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in road closures, infrastructure, batavia, New, Union Street.

From the City Of Batavia Department of Public Works:


On today, Aug. 22nd through Friday, Sept. 13th, Union Street in the City of Batavia will be closed to all through traffic.

The closures will be between West Main Street and Richmond Avenue and Richmond Avenue and Oak Street. The closure is for construction activities associated with water main replacement, sidewalk installation and paving.

All motorists who regularly use Union Street are asked to seek alternative routes while the closure is in place.

Emergency response and residents of Union Street and Union Square will be permitted within the closure for ingress and egress to properties. Caution is advised.

Contact the Bureau of Maintenance and ask to speak to the Superintendent at 585-345-6400, opt. 1, if you have any questions.

August 21, 2019 - 4:11pm
posted by Billie Owens in infrastructure, news, batavia, road closures.

From City of Batavia Department of Public Works:

On Thursday, Aug. 22, the water will be turned off on Walnut Street from number 101 to the city line and all of Law Street starting at 8 a.m. for a water line repair.

The work may result in a period of discolored water in this general area after service is restored. Residents should check to make sure water clarity has returned before resuming activities such as laundry which may be impacted.

August 21, 2019 - 9:34am
posted by Billie Owens in news, road closures, road work, infrastructure, Darien, byron.

The county Highway Department announced that the Sumner Road bridge over Elevenmile Creek in Darien is now restricted to alternating one-way traffic with a temporary signal. The change took effect yesterday. This bridge is between Route 77 and Harlow Road.

The public will be notified when the road reopens to both lanes of traffic.

The Highway Department also announced that the Caswell Road Bridge between Walkers Corners Road and Cockram Road in Byron will be closed effective Thursday, Aug. 22nd through Oct. 4th.

August 17, 2019 - 8:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Walnut Street, infrastructure, news.

Press release:

Effective immediately the is a water shut down on Walnut Street from the city line to Law Street for a repair to a broken water main.

Service will be restored as soon as possible. Once service is restored, you may notice some discoloration. Please delay doing laundry until the water clears up.

We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you in advance for your cooperation.

UPDATE 2:52 p.m.: Water service has been restored and the roadway is open.

August 16, 2019 - 10:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in pratt road bridge, infrastructure, batavia, video.

RIck von Kramer shared with us this quick video of new spans that have been delivered for installation over the Tonawanda Creek for the new Pratt Road Bridge.

Here's a video we did previously about the project:

Video Sponsor
August 9, 2019 - 10:54am
posted by Billie Owens in bergen, water distribution, infrastructure, news, USDA.

The Town of Bergen is approved for nearly $9 million in funding for water infrastructure, the USDA's Rural Utilities Service Administrator Chad Rupe announced Thursday.

A loan of $5.9 million and a grant of $3,058,000 from the USDA's Water and Environmental Program will be used to install a water distribution system.

The project description says the service area has no municipal water system and Bergen residents rely on individual wells. It says this funding will bring public water service to 335 residential connections and 32 commerical properties in the town that currently lack access to safe potable water.

"We are very pleased with the award (of the funding package)," said Town of Bergen Supervisor Ernie Haywood this morning (Aug. 9), "and we thank all those involved who made it possible. We are moving forward..."

According to the description, "Regulatory agencies indicate the deficiencies in the system are a threat to the health of residents and that the completion of this project will address the code issues, alleviate health problems and provide reliable water to the residents and commercial properties. The project will also supply fire protection for all located in the district."

In areas without public water, firefighters must draw water from other sources such as ponds and creeks in order to fight a blaze.

Proponents of the federal assistance package reached out to property owners to inform them about the plan for a water district and public meetings have been held about it.

As part of the approval process, the USDA requires a percentage of affected property owners to sign petitions in favor of the infrastructure and funding package. For the last several months, the Town of Bergen has gathered signatures to create a water district where there is no public water system.

The expectation is that construction would start quickly once the funds are released and that it would take about a year to complete, said Bergen Councilman Mark Anderson.

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities.

In January 2018, Secretary George Ervin "Sonny" Perdue III presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump.

These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.

Thursday's announcement about rural water and wastewater investments will benefit 133,000 rural Americans in 24 states. A total of $135 million will be distributed to pay for 49 U.S. projects.

USDA had $2.9 billion in loans and grants available in the Water and Environmental at the start of the 2019 fiscal year. Additional funding announcements are expected in the coming weeks.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports: infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed Internet access in rural areas.

For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

July 8, 2019 - 6:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Sidewalks, infrastructure, news, general.


Construction has begun on a nearly $1.2 million Pedestrian Way project that will result in some wider walkways for walkers on State Street and an improved pedestrian crossing at State and Richmond Avenue.

The project includes new sidewalks on Washington Avenue and Bank Street.

Along State Street (photo), the new wider sidewalk will connect Washington Avenue with Batavia High School.

The new crossing system at State and Richmond will include audible signals for the visually impaired.

The gravel path along Richmond Avenue in Centennial Park will also be rehabilitated.

The original project budget was $1.25 million, with a Federal grant covering 75 percent of the cost but bids came in $217,000 over budget. The city will dip in further to its sidewalk reserve fund and available state aid to make the local share 35 percent instead of 25 percent.

Public Works Director Matt Worth previously advised the City Council to accept the higher bid rather than rebid the project because this summer construction costs for such projects have been increasing so a new round of bidding would have likely resulted in even higher costs.

June 16, 2019 - 11:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in pratt road bridge, Pratt Road, batavia, infrastructure, video, news.
Video Sponsor

Genesee County is replacing the bridge over the Tonawanda Creek at Pratt Road in Batavia. The $1.6 million project is 95 percent federally funded.

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