Harlem Rd bridge reopened to traffic

WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) – As if dealing with all the snow wasn’t enough, a bridge closure in West Seneca didn’t help the flow of traffic during the height of Thursday’s lake-effect snowstorm that hit certain parts of the region.

The Harlem Road bridge at Clinton Street, which crosses the Buffalo River, was closed Thursday night after loose concrete from a deteriorating expansion joint was discovered.

The bridge, which is owned and maintained by the New York State Department of Transportation, was originally constructed in 1911, and widened in 1954, is scheduled to be replaced by December 2018.

“They’re actually in the process of rebuilding it, building a new one I should say. They’re going to take down the existing one,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, who expressed concern that county plows were slowed down by the closure.

Erie County’s Harlem Road highway barns are located not far from the bridge.

“The normal way that the trucks from Harlem Road barns leave to go south is just straight down Harlem,” he said.

But because of the bridge closure, county plows had to divert.

“There was a lot of extra driving that had to take place,” said Bill Geary, Erie County DPW deputy commissioner.

Geary said that added time to plowing routes.

“Our plow truck drivers had to head east on Clinton Street in most cases and go all the way out to Transit Road and then try coming back west towards that area, Seneca and Ridge,” Geary added.

The bridge closure also impacted traffic patterns in and around West Seneca, according to John Gullo, the town’s emergency manager.

“It was almost like a parking lot on Union Road for quite a long time,” Gullo said. “All that southbound traffic went over to Union Road and then over to Abbott Road in Buffalo which caused a lot of problems with the traffic.”

The bridge reopened Friday afternoon after contractors worked to make repairs.

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