CONCORD, N.Y. (WIVB) – The old Route 219 bridge over Cattaraugus Creek is considered a lifeline for local businesses in Springville, which are concentrated along the former state road, now known as Cascade Road.
But the 60-year-old bridge has outlived its usefulness, and in recent years, structural defects have led to temporary closures.
Now the New York State Department of Transportation has come up with a plan to replace the old bridge in the next 18 months, and folks in the Southtowns seem to be very happy that the plans will not substantially interrupt traffic flow south into Cattaraugus County, or north into Erie County.
The plans call for closing the Cascade Road bridge permanently, next Monday. DOT spokesperson Susan Surdej said later this spring, the bridge itself will go out with a bang.
“Our contractor is going to start taking off the bridge deck and the bridge rail, and then in early June, the rest of the bridge will actually be imploded.”
The implosion is to clear the way for the new replacement bridge. Local traffic will be detoured onto the Route 219 expressway to minimize the inconvenience.
Having continuous traffic, rather than a dead end at the bridge is critical for local businesses, like Karen O’Hara’s Southtowns Route 219 Antiques.
“It is a lifeline. Without it, if they close the road, I have no business coming down the road because people just don’t like to go to a dead end and then turn around and go back, then get on the expressway and try to find their way down.”
Likewise, at the Apple Dumplin, server Kelly Klahn remembers a few years ago when the old bridge was shutdown temporarily for safety reasons, and its effect on local traffic.
“The roads were dead–it was no traffic–but we still kept our customers, for the most part. We did lose a little bit of business.”
That is why DOT officials are going out of their way to make sure local traffic is maintained, as the old Route 219 bridge is replaced. The new bridge should be finished by late next summer.