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Brian Luke Community Blogger, WGRZ-TV

Friday, November 19, 2010

NYDSDOT Announces Completion of US Route 219 Extension Project PRESS RELEASE

Release Date: November 19, 2010
NYDSDOT Announces Completion of US Route 219 Extension Project
Southern Expressway Extension Opening Friday, Novbember 19
New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Acting Commissioner Stanley Gee today announced the opening of the 4.2-mile extension of U.S. Route 219, Southern Expressway, in the village of Springville, Erie County, and the town of Ashford, Cattaraugus County.

“Extending the Southern Expressway allows greater mobility for area residents and long distance travelers and truckers by providing a safe, efficient way to travel between Erie and Cattaraugus counties,” Acting Commissioner Gee said.  “In addition, this new stretch of highway features a stunning backdrop with panoramic views of the mountains and valleys that make up the Enchanted Mountains.”

The U.S. Route 219 project, which began in 2007, extended the Southern Expressway from State Route 39 in the village of Springville to a new interchange at Peters Road in the town of Ashford.  The project involved the construction of 4.2 miles of four-lane divided highway and nine new bridges, including two, twin steel arch bridges that each span more than 700 feet across the Cattaraugus Creek gorge.  A new 41-acre wetland and wildlife observation area was constructed in Hinman Valley, town of Ellicottville, as well as a 2,000-foot stream habitat enhancement project on McKinstry Creek, in the town of Yorkshire.  The prime contractor on the project was Cold Spring Construction Company of the village of Akron, Erie County. 

Senator Catharine Young said, “Completing this phase of Route 219 is a design feat of huge proportions that has taken decades of dedication and hard work, led by local people who have had an unrelenting vision and a dream.  We need a major north-south route to connect our
region with new markets.  When it’s finally finished, Route 219 will bring countless jobs and opportunities to revitalize Western New York.  As importantly, making Route 219 a safer roadway will save heartache and lives.  Hundreds of people have been seriously injured or killed on Route 219 over the years, and upgrading the highway will avert carnage on the road.  We need to celebrate our current success and rededicate ourselves to a positive economic future by achieving the ultimate goal of having the entire route constructed.”
Assemblyman Joseph M. Giglio said, “I’m pleased that the current phase of the Route 219 project has been completed.  This is one of the most important projects for economic development, commerce, travel and tourism in recent history.  I congratulate all of those that have worked toward the completion of Route 219, and I’m hopeful that the next phases begin as soon as possible.” 
Meg Lauerman, Continental 1 Project Manager said, “Continental 1 is delighted that NYSDOT has decided to publicly celebrate this momentous community achievement.  Our region can be proud of the work accomplished – the design and construction of a magnificent twin span, award-winning wetland mitigation, as well as the long hours and tireless efforts of our local workforce, including Seneca Nation and other high-iron construction workers.”

“This Southern Expressway project has extended this important north-south corridor which will improve mobility and enhance the economic vitality of the region,” said NYSDOT Acting Regional Director Darrell Kaminski.  “Equally important, the project will also mitigate safety concerns for the traveling public along the existing two-lane highway section of U.S. Route 219.”
The U.S. Route 219 extension provides a unique, scenic gateway to Cattaraugus County offering beautiful views of the Cattaraugus Creek gorge and surrounding valleys.  Locally, the area is known as the “Enchanted Mountains,” and travelers on U.S. Route 219 enjoy a landscape of woodland hills and stream glens.  These scenic qualities helped earn U.S. Route 219 the designation of a New York State Scenic Byway in 2007. 

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