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March 19, 2019 - 11:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, news, county highway.

There are 95 bridges and 256 culverts in the county's infrastructure inventory and combined they're worth about $70 million, County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens told members of the Public Service Committee on Monday.

That's a conservative estimate, Hens said.

He arrived at the number based on the amount spent on bridge and culvert replacement over the past three years without adjusting for inflation.  

Genesee County is one of three counties in the state that are economically responsible for all bridges and culverts on non-state roads, including those in towns and villages. In every other county, towns and villages must maintain and replace old bridges.

It's been that way since 1939 when the board of supervisors passed legislation giving county control of bridges and culverts.

A bridge (defined as more than 20 feet long) can be expected to have a safe, useful life of 50 years. The average bridge in the county was constructed in 1968, Hens said.

To keep up with the replacement cycle of bridges, the county needs to replace two bridges a year but in recent years, with cuts in federal aid, the county has only been able to replace one bridge a year.

Typically, state and federal aid helps pay for bridge and culvert replacement but as that aid is cut back, the county may need to turn to other sources of local revenue, such as sales tax.

March 8, 2019 - 6:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, Le Roy, infrastructure.

A water main break, reportedly with significant flooding, is reported on North Street, in Le Roy.

A cellar pump detail is needed for 37 North St.

Le Roy Fire Department dispatched and the chief has requested all available manpower.

Monroe County Water Authority notified.

UPDATE 6:22 p.m.: Pavilion requested to fill in at Le Roy's fire hall.

UPDATE 6:24 p.m.: A Monroe County water crew is 30 minutes from the scene and is estimating a four- to six-hour repair window.

UPDATE 6:25 p.m.: Water flow alarms have been triggered at two businesses in the area.

March 8, 2019 - 1:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in infrastructure, news, Ellicott Avenue, batavia, Road Closure.

Press release from the city's Bureau of Maintenance:

On Monday, March 11, between the hours of 4 and 10 p.m. Ellicott Avenue (between West Main Street and Mix Place) will be closed. National Grid will be replacing infrastructure so the road will be closed to all through traffic.

Residents of Ellicott Avenue are asked to access Ellicott Avenue during this work from either Mix Place, Washington Avenue, Park Avenue or Richmond Avenue. Residents of Ellicott Avenue south of Mix Place will be permitted to access their property by entering/ exiting from the north side of Ellicott Avenue.

National Grid anticipates three properties to experience an outage and they have already been notified. This work is weather dependent.

Thank you for your cooperation in advance.

March 6, 2019 - 4:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, news, infrastructure.

Submitted photo and press release:

 Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today joined legislators, highway superintendents and members of road repair crews from across the state to call for a $150 million increase to the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS).

They also want restoration of $65 million in Extreme Winter Recovery funds that Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to axe from this year’s budget.

“Western New York’s winters are brutal and it’s no surprise that potholes and road deterioration spread like wildfire every spring, so to cut these funds would rob us of the ability to provide safe, smooth and reliable transportation moving forward into the summer travel months,” Hawley said.

“CHIPS funding hasn’t increased in many years but state leaders have no issue dumping billions more into the dysfunctional MTA and expensive Downstate projects. This money is vital to Upstate and we are asking for a small increase relative to the entire budget which is projected near $170 billion this year. I am hopeful state leaders heed our message today.”

January 21, 2019 - 5:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Union Street, infrastructure, news, batavia.

Press release:

There is a water main break on Union Street near Notre Dame school. Crews are on site to begin repairs but water service will be interrupted in the area until repairs are complete.

Once repaired residents are cautioned to allow some time for water clarity to return and avoid laundry activities until full clarity has returned.

UPDATE 9:20 p.m.: From Matt Worth: "The water main has been repaired and service restored."

January 17, 2019 - 9:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, batavia, news.

Press release:

At approximately 3 a.m. there was a large water main break on North Street between Trumbull and North Spruce in Batavia.  The main has been shut down, and crews are beginning repairs.  Residents in the area may experience low water pressure or discoloration.

Residents in the area are advised to check for discolored water and wait until water clarity has been restored before using for laundry. Vehicular traffic should avoid the area as the street may be closed while repairs are completed.

UPDATE 2:15 p.m.: The water main has been repaired and water service restored as of approximately 1:30 p.m.

December 17, 2018 - 10:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany, Alabama, news, infrastructure, water.

Press release:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $4,639,000 in federal funding for six water infrastructure improvement projects across the Rochester-Finger Lakes Region. The funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development’s Water and Waste Disposal Loans and Grants Program.

Specifically, Schumer and Gillibrand explained, the Town of Alabama in Genesee County will receive: $1,653,000 to create Water District #2 and the Town of Bethany in Genesee County will receive $722,000 to create Water District #4.

The Town of Clarendon in Orleans County will receive $790,000 to create Water District #13 and an additional $790,000 to improve the water improvement benefit area #12, and the Town of Torrey in Yates County will receive $684,000 to create Water District 1, the first municipal water system to serve this area.

“These federal investments in job-creating and economy-boosting water infrastructure projects are great news for the Rochester-Finger Lakes region,” Schumer said. “This federal funding will allow five towns across the region to construct and make critical improvements to municipal water systems needed to provide clean, safe drinking water to their communities.

"I am proud to announce these federal investments and will continue fighting to ensure rural communities across Upstate New York have the resources they need to build, protect and maintain their water infrastructure.”

“All New Yorkers should have access to a reliable source of clean water, and with these grants, communities throughout the Rochester-Finger Lakes region will be able to expand and improve their water systems,” Gillibrand said.

“These investments will help provide safe and clean water for residents in the towns of Alabama, Bethany, Clarendon and Torrey, and I will always fight in the Senate for the resources to protect the health and quality of life for residents.”

November 21, 2018 - 11:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, batavia, news.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Water Department is repairing a water main break on South Lyon Street. Water has been shut off for all of South Lyon Street.  City crews will make every effort to restore water as soon as possible. Please avoid South Lyon Street until repairs are complete. 

This could result in low water pressure condition for some residents. Other residents in the area may experience discolored water, which should return to normal once repairs are complete.

Residents should check to make sure water clarity has returned before resuming activities such as laundry, which may be impacted.

UPDATE 1 p.m.: The break is repaired and South Lyon has reopened.

November 14, 2018 - 2:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in infrastructure, batavia, Alabama, steve hawley, BRIDGE-NY, news.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today announced nearly $6 million in funding will be injected into six, much-needed bridge and culvert repairs in Genesee, Orleans and Monroe counties as part of the BRIDGE-NY program that was a component of last year’s state budget.

A recent study by CNBC ranked New York’s infrastructure as some of the worst in the nation, with 10.5 percent of bridges ranked as deficient and 60 percent of roads classified as in poor or mediocre condition.

“I am very pleased to see our hard-fought victory for more upstate infrastructure funding is finally yielding tangible results,” Hawley said. “At a time when too many lawmakers set their sights on funneling more and more of our resources to fix downstate calamities like the MTA and LaGuardia Airport, it is more important than ever to focus on addressing upstate’s needs and that starts with our deficient roads, bridges and highways.

"Rest assured, maintaining the longevity of programs like BRIDGE-NY, PAVE-NY and increasing CHIPs funding will be among my top priorities come next year’s session.”

A list of BRIDGE-NY projects in the 139th Assembly District is as follows: 

  • $1.081 million to Genesee County for Sharrick Road over Murder Creek;
  • $907,000 to Genesee County for Tower Hill Road over Spring Creek;
  • $787,000 to the Town of Alabama (Genesee County) for Meadville Road over Canal Creek;
  • $1.082 million to the Town of Batavia (Genesee County) for Upton Road over Bowen Creek;
  • $686,000 to Monroe County for Lake Road W Fork over Sandy Creek;
  • $1.111 million to Orleans County for Transit Road over W Branch Sandy Creek.
November 2, 2018 - 10:26am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Stroh Road, infrastructure, news, alexander.

A $1.423 million project to replace the bridge over the Tonawanda Creek on Stroh Road in Alexander was completed yesterday and the bridge was opened to traffic.

The bridge has been closed since early May.

Contractor L.C. Whitford Co. Inc., of Wellsville, rebuilt the bridge.

September 19, 2018 - 1:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in county highway, tim hens, news, notify, infrastructure.

img_2045.jpg

During the Public Service Committee meeting Tuesday, Highway Superintendent Tim Hens updated members of the County Legislature on the work of his department.

On funding, the proposed county road budget for 2019 is $5,527,130. Asphalt prices have increased 20 percent in 2018. Salt prices are up 16 percent. Gas prices have gone from $2 a gallon to $2.35 and climbing, though prices should stabilize in 2019, Hens said. The department has 57 employees (54.25 full-time equivalents), working in administration, highway, parks, airport, fleet, and facility maintenance.     

Besides a share of the general fund, the department receives grants for projects. State aid in 2018 has been $1.6 million, plus $382,193 from the PAVE-NY fund, $240,498 for extreme weather recovery.

Federal aid, Hens said, is still limited.

The county, including applications from towns, has 31 applications made to BRIDGE-NY, with an announcement for funding expected in the fall. 

Hens anticipates needing $2,131,466 for roach machinery in 2019. The department is making lease payments on a dozer, loader, an excavator, and needs a wheel loader, pickup, 2.5-ton truck, and mid-sized track excavator.

The county is responsible for 260 miles of highway. There are 92 bridges longer than 20 feet and 278 bridges and culverts longer than five feet and less than 20 feet. 

"We need to replace two bridges a year to keep our heads above water and we have been doing one bridge a year based on available federal funding," Hens said. 

The rating for the Lyons Street Bridge has been reduced from eight tons to seven. Pratt Road Bridge has been reduced from 19 tons to seven and is scheduled for replacement next year.

Reconstruction of the Stroh Road Bridge is nearly complete and it should open Oct. 1, three weeks ahead of schedule. 

Four culverts in the county of less than 20-foot span were replaced this summer.

The county also completed paving or overlay projects on Indian Falls Road, North Lake Road, North Byron Road, Prole Road Extension, South Street in Pavilion, Colby Road, Hickox, Walker, and Gillate roads in Alexander. 

These projects often included shoulder widening to 30 feet.

The widening has gone over well with residents in those areas, Hens said, who now have more room for walking and biking.

Much of the material used for this work is recycled asphalt from the work at the County Airport to replace the runway and taxiways. This has produced more than 16,000 tons of asphalt for the county to process and reuse.

"It's cheap material," Hens said. "But it's not free. We still have to process it and handle it."

As for county parks, Hens praised the work of Shannon Lyaski, conservation education program coordinator, and Paul Osborn, parks director.

"We've seen year-over-year growth in the environmental programs," Hens said. "We've hit record numbers for revenue and people attending events at the County Park." 

He said Lyaski has done a good job with programming for events at the Interpretive Nature Center.

The revenue generated by these programs cover her salary, Hens said.

As for Osborn, Hens said he's a master at rounding up volunteer workers and scavenging for material for structures in the parks.

"He flips over rocks and pulls people out and he's got people down there cleaning, cutting and trimming," Hens said.

One of the annual programs at the County Park is Camp Hard Hat, which brings in high school students in to build a project under the supervision of a BOCES instructor.

This year, the crew built a footbridge using guardrails Osborn scavenged from the old Stroh Road Bridge.

Attendance has also been up at the DeWitt Recreation Area.

Hens said work on a bridge through the wetlands in the park for the Ellicott Trail should be completed by fall. The county is waiting on the Town of Batavia to finish its part of the trail and Hens is hopeful the trail will open next spring.

For facilities, significant projects in 2018 include a new jail elevator, a security system, new fire alarm for the County Courthouse, and completion of an energy performance contract. For 2019, the county is waiting on a grant for the stonework on the facade of the jail building and a grant is pending for energy upgrades at the Animal Shelter.

In the 20 years since Hens became highway superintendent, the County has invested $30 million in capital improvements, which includes new hangars, a new terminal, and a new runway and taxiways. The funds were all generated by grants or fees for use of the airport and fuel so there have been no direct costs to local taxpayers.

There are 21 jobs at the airport, including private employers, and generates $2.35 million in economic impact.

The airport has brought in more money than it cost in 16 of the past 17 years. Hens anticipates the airport will only break even in 2018 due to a prolonged winter and construction projects.

Pete Zeliff is building a new hangar for corporate jets, which should help generate more revenue for the county through additional fuel sales.

Hens has also been heavily involved in public water projects with several new projects starting this year and more planned for 2019.

PHOTO: Tim Hens in the foreground and Laura Wadhams, the county's new assistant engineer, who started her job a little over a week ago.

August 31, 2018 - 2:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bethany Center Road Bridge, Bethany, infrastructure, news, notify.

bethcenterrdbridgeaug2018-2_1.jpg

A dispatcher just notified the Bethany Volunteer Fire Department that the Bethany Center Bridge has reopened.

The old bridge was built in the 1930s and in recent years had eroded into a crumbling, rusting eyesore. It was replaced this summer with a new $1.4 million span by the Department of Transportation.

Photo: From Aug. 17, when a construction foreman told The Batavian work would be completed by the first week of September.

August 23, 2018 - 5:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in Bethany, water district #5, news, infrastructure, Announcements.

There will be a public informational meeting for the proposed Bethany Water District #5 on Monday, Sept. 17, at 6 p.m. at the Bethany Town Hall. This is to discuss the $14.5 million water project for most of Bethany.

The public is encouraged to attend.

Bethany Town Hall is located at 10510 Bethany Center Road in Bethany.

August 17, 2018 - 12:53pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, Bethany, Bethany Center Road Bridge, infrastructure.

bethcenterrdbridgeaug2018.jpg

These are pictures from this morning of the ongoing work on the new Bethany Center Road Bridge over Route 20 in Bethany.

A foreman said the work is on schedule and they expect the bridge to be ready for traffic the first week of September.

bethcenterrdbridgeaug2018-2.jpg

bethcenterrdbridgeaug2018-3.jpg

bethcenterrdbridgeaug2018-4.jpg

bethcenterrdbridgeaug2018-5.jpg

July 16, 2018 - 5:32pm
posted by Virginia Kropf in corfu, news, water, infrastructure.

Genesee County Manager Jay Gsell and Legislator Gordon Dibble have responded to the public hearing held July 9 by the Village of Corfu to address the county’s proposal to double the charge for municipal water.

Corfu officials had hoped someone from the county would attend the hearing to address residents’ concerns about the proposed increase.

However, no county representative was present at the meeting because they were not notified until the day before, Gsell said in an e-mail to The Batavian.

Apparently, Corfu Trustee Al Graham contacted Dibble about 1 p.m. Sunday to inquire if he had received any notice of Monday’s hearing. Dibble replied that he had not.

“It was too late at that point because we want to get all the people there who have the right answers,” Dibble said in a phone call today.

Gsell said they last met with the Village of Corfu officials in June and agreed to come to another village meeting with appropriate notice.

Currently, the county and village of Corfu are trying to agree on a date when all parties can attend.

Gsell has also shared a letter sent to Genesee County’s attorney by Corfu attorneys David Saleh and John Whiting with the Whiting Law Firm after the June meeting. The letter, dated July 5, which was also forwarded to MCWA, says claims were made by Corfu that the county and MCWA were ignoring the village in regard to municipal water, although Corfu has been a retail customer of the MCWA since 2001.

The MCWA told Corfu Mayor Joe Johnson the letter had been forwarded to them and it contained statements that the Village of Corfu had concerns with the services provided by MCWA’s operation and maintenance of the water system.

Several statements made by Corfu in the letter indicate the existing water system that provides water to thousands of county residents, including the residents of the village, is facing many challenges, including a crisis in maintenance of the existing water lines and other facilities.

The village wrote that the water lines running through the village are nearly 100 years old and needed attention even when these agreements were signed nearly 22 years ago.

“It was expected that efforts would be made to replace existing lines that have been subject to compromising breaks on a regular basis. In that near 20-year period, the existing lines haven’t been properly addressed and the problem is only worse,” the letter said.

Finally, the village wrote, “The Water Authority is struggling with maintenance, and the county needs to get involved to help find a solution.”

The MCWA’s Executive Director Nicholas Noce responded that this secondhand notice was the first they had heard about the Village of Corfu’s concerns.

Noce said the Village of Corfu water system was functional at the time the Water Authority and the village entered into an agreement.

He also said MCWA disagrees with the statements about struggling with maintenance and not properly addressing the system.

“This should be recognized by the nearly $2 million invested in the portion of the county’s water system in the Village of Corfu,” Noce said.

He said while there have been water main breaks in the village, those mains do not rank high enough for replacement at this time.

“Typically, age is not a criteria for water main replacement,” Noce said. “Water mains can break for several reasons, such as shifting of the ground during freeze-thaw cycles, pressure changes, casting flaws with material, or from corrosion.”

Noce said the Water Authority has a long-standing main rehabilitation program that has proven to be very effective. When compared to other water utilities across the nation through the benchmarking studies prepared by the American Water Works Association, the MCWA ranks in the national top quartile for the least number of water main breaks per 100 miles of water main.

Noce also said his organization would gladly come out to Corfu or have further discussions with the village to answer any questions about their programs. He said they have no record of receiving any direct contacts from Corfu with the above concerns.

He also reiterated the fact that since the Water Authority and the Village of Corfu entered into the retail lease agreement, the Water Authority has invested $1.95 million into the portion of the Water Authority’s system which is within the village. That investment, Noce said, paid to replace or clean and cement mortar line on approximately 48 percent of the water mains in the village; replace 70 percent of the hydrants; it rehabilitated the water storage tank; and replaced the roof on the water treatment plant (to name a few).

“If the village stayed in the water business, the village water system would have had to fund the $1.95 million of improvement and spread that cost over just 285 water customers in the village,” Noce said.

June 27, 2018 - 9:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in transportation, infrastructure, steve hawley, news.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) announced today that millions in transportation upgrades have been awarded to the 139th Assembly District. Funding will improve operating assistance, transit buses, facilities and services in Genesee, Orleans and Monroe counties.

This includes funds to replace three transit buses and one bus shelter in Genesee County, improve operating functionality in Monroe County and the purchase of a new bus facility in Orleans County.

“Our local public transportation system is crucial to maintaining a strong and bustling community for all walks of life,” Hawley said. “With all the difficulties of traffic, parking and expenses of commuting for oneself, public transportation is extremely important to many residents of Western New York.

"Thousands of people rely on our buses to travel to work, go shopping and travel around the district, and many school age and college students need reliable transportation to and from campus. I am pleased to announce that this funding will be injected into our local transportation system and look forward to a more seamless commute for our residents.”

June 4, 2018 - 7:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in corfu, infrastructure, news.

A water main break is reported in Corfu at East Main Street and Thompson Drive.

A responder on scene reports there's water coming up on both sides of the road.

UPDATE: Corfu Chief Brian Schollard says Route 33 is open through the village but houses on both sides of the street, from 56 to 78 are without water for the night. Work crews are on scene repairing the break. Two hydrants are also out of service between Lawrence and Thompson. Repairs are expected to be completed by the morning sometime.

May 22, 2018 - 11:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Empire Access, business, news, infrastructure.

Press release:

Empire Access, a leading telecommunications service provider based in the Finger Lakes region of New York, today announced the completion of its acquisition of Axcess Ontario.

Through this acquisition, Empire Access adds over 200 miles of fiber optic network to its existing multi-county network infrastructure. Empire plans to accelerate its expansion of fiber optic service in Ontario County with this newly acquired network.

“We’re excited to announce that we have finalized the acquisition of the Axcess Ontario network,” said Jim Baase, COO of Empire Access. “This allows us to offer our industry-leading Fiber Optic Gigabit Internet, phone and security to homes and businesses throughout Ontario County.”

The Axcess Ontario fiber ring is a 200-plus-mile open-access fiber-optic network in Ontario County in Upstate New York. Since 2005, Axcess Ontario has built and maintained a robust open-access fiber-optic network infrastructure within Ontario County.

The open-access network provides advanced connectivity for telecommunications. The Axcess Ontario fiber ring has been recognized as a national broadband model and is the epitome of 21st-century public infrastructure.

"Empire Access is a family-owned and operated company, and our goal is to continue Axcess Ontario’s original mission of providing cutting-edge communications services to the local communities,” Baase said.

Empire Access currently offers residential and business fiber optic services in Ontario County's Village of Naples, along with a wide array of fiber optic business services in the cities of Canandaigua and Geneva, the Village of Victor, and Honeoye.

The company will expand residential and business service to surrounding communities in the upcoming months and offer fiber optic high-speed Internet, phone and security solutions to residential and business customers within Ontario County.

May 15, 2018 - 12:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, michael ranzenhofer, news.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced today that a record level of state funding will continue to help local governments rehabilitate area highways, roads and bridges.

“Western New York will be getting its fair share of state transportation dollars again this year," Ranzenhofer said. "With winter finally over, local highway crews will start to put these dollars to work by fixing our infrastructure.

"This state funding will help to provide safe and reliable transportation for motorists and their families,” 

A total of $603 million in statewide funding will help municipalities with infrastructure improvement projects. The 2018-19 New York State Budget allocates $438 million for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement program (CHIPS), $100 million for the Pave NY program and $65 million for the Extreme Winter Recovery program.

Genesee County

Municipality

2018-19 Budget ($)

City of Batavia

426,205

Town of Alabama

121,831

Town of Alexander

126,163

Town of Batavia

146,171

Town of Bergen

69,838

Town of Bethany

110,065

Town of Byron

136,777

Town of Darien

149,398

Town of Elba

108,980

Town of LeRoy

141,781

Town of Oakfield

71,370

Town of Pavilion

146,205

Town of Pembroke

135,045

Town of Stafford

134,751

Village of Alexander

12,491

Village of Bergen

27,404

Village of Corfu

18,936

Village of Elba

12,436

Village of Le Roy

105,209

Village of Oakfield

39,559

County of Genesee

2,295,315

May 1, 2018 - 2:52pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, infrastructure, news, Le Roy, bergen.
Press release:
 

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today announced new funding to repair and resurface two critical roadways which were damaged by extreme weather conditions this winter.

“Reliable infrastructure is so important; it’s worth the investment,” Hawley said. “Bus drivers transporting our kids to school, hardworking parents commuting to work and seniors getting to appointments deserve to travel on safe, sound roads. Revitalizing our infrastructure is an investment in public safety, in economic development and in a stronger middle class.”

Hawley secured $1 million to resurface Route 31 in the Village of Albion in Orleans County. He delivered another $1 million to resurface Route 19 from Randall Road to Route 33 in (Le Roy and Bergen) Genesee County.

In recent years, Hawley has worked with his colleagues to secure a 40-percent increase in state aid for local infrastructure projects.

“We still have tremendous unmet infrastructure needs at the local level, and our message has been that the state needs to step in and really invest in this," Hawley said. "That’s why I’m so pleased to deliver this funding, and why I’m going to continue to be a tireless advocate for providing New Yorkers with 21st century infrastructure.”

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