Emergency work closes portion of Tonawanda Creek Road

Utility crews responded to Tonawanda Creek Road

CLARENCE, N.Y. (WIVB) – A quarter-mile stretch of the soil slope along Tonawanda Creek Road failed Thursday morning, taking utility poles and trees with it.

Maintaining a clear line between the road and the creek itself has been a struggle for years in Clarence. Bob Rung told News 4 he knew it was only a matter of time before the stretch of road in front of his home was impacted.

Rung explained, “We’ve been watching it for the last couple of years and people have been calling the county and we knew it was going to happen.”

Erie County Engineering Department Director Charles Sickler said, “The road itself hasn’t failed, but it’s right up to the edge of the road.”

Sickler said the whole area is problematic. Ten years ago, on June 29, 2004, less than a mile to the west of this latest collapse, a five-mile stretch of the road was closed after a landslide left the pavement in shambles.

It took Erie County nearly five years and $3 million to fix it.

Back in 2009, Charles and Jody Morphy’s home in East Amherst slid down the embankment and into the creek bed. The Morphys lost almost everything, and at the time Jody seemed crushed.

“My heart is broken. Outside of the death of an immediate family member, it is the worst thing I have ever had to go through.”

Four years ago, March 31, 2010, the bike path collapsed, along Tonawanda Creek at New Road, and over the years lesser incidents have slowed down traffic.

Recalling the collapse from 2004, Rung called for a quicker repair job.

“I don’t want a four-year fix. The last time it washed out down there we were without a road for four or five years, and that gets a little frustrating.”

Sickler said, this incident is much different than 2004.

“The road itself has not failed, right now, but it is right up to the edge of the road.”

That section of Tonawanda Creek Road is limited to one lane with a traffic signal, and is closed to through traffic. County Public Works officials met Thursday afternoon, and decided to bring in a consultant to check the soil and other factors.

They told News 4 this arrangement will remain in place for a few weeks.

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