Steel-making legacy removed from under Hamburg road

HAMBURG, NY (WIVB)- It’s a blast from Buffalo’s steel making past and it’s been lying under a road in Hamburg for decades.

Now that Erie County Highway crews are rebuilding a two mile stretch of Lake Avenue near Abbott Road, they are removing tons of what’s known as ‘slag’, a byproduct left behind from steel making. Back in the 1970’s, Bethlehem Steel would give it away, so Erie County used some of it to lay as a base under blacktop.

In hindsight, it really wasn’t a good road base, according to Erie County Legislature Chairman, John Mills. “The problem was that there wasn’t enough research on the slag and what slag does is it doesn’t allow the water to exit the road bed, causing thaw and freeze which pops up the surface of the road.”

Erie County Highway crews are in the middle of a $4 million reconstruction project on Lake Avenue and they are removing all of the slag base and replacing it with a stone base. The project should be completed in October.

Slag was also recently removed during reconstruction of Eden Evans Center Road.

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