Neighbors question why Clarence Center street is closed one year after road collapse

CLARENCE, N.Y. (WIVB) –  Neighbors along Tonawanda Creek Road in Clarence Center are looking for answers. It’s been almost a year since a quarter-mile stretch of the road collapsed, and now the street is completely closed.

There have been no less then three collapses over the past decade along Tonawanda Creek Road in both Clarence and Amherst. It happened again in June 2014 taking utility poles and trees with it. Bob Jaruszewski lives on this street.

He says, “It’s an inconvenience to a lot of people around here.”

He says after the collapse, traffic was reduced to one lane. But Monday the County closed it to through traffic causing a major detour in the area.

“There’s a lot of people that work here, that need to get to Transit Road, so as a result you’re going 4 miles out of your way,” he says.

Another big concern for neighbors is how emergency vehicles would be able to get through the road closure.

“There’s a lot of elderly people who live on the road here, where is the emergency vehicle going to come from? Rapids Road? Transit Road? I don’t know,” says Jaruszewski.

The Erie County Public Works Commissioner tells us he has a consultant on board. He’s asking for the $2.5 million dollars it would take to fix the road in the 2016 budget. But he says there’s a lot of road and bridge projects that need funding and that competition is fierce.

John Loffredo says, “All of these should be done. If we had enough funds but we don’t so we have to make difficult choices.”

Loffredo says he wouldn’t build roads next to creeks today and says it makes the entire area problematic. Now he says something is going to be done, it’s just a matter of when.

And neighbors have the same question.

Jaruszewski says, “My biggest concern is when is the road going to be fixed? The last collapse two miles down the road- it took them five years to fix it.”

Commissioner Loffredo says if the funding is granted, 2017 would be the earliest the project would get underway.

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