Efforts to fix a North Tonawanda road drivers are calling a “war zone”

NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Potholes are causing drivers to swerve all across Western New York, but there’s one area in North Tonawanda that people are calling a war zone.

A portion of Ridge Road is riddled with potholes, including the parking lots that surround it.

“It’s kind of like driving on a cheese grater. It’s an accident waiting to happen, that’s what it is,” said North Tonawanda resident, Michael Lorence.

The road and the parking lot is owned by Sportsplex Inc., a multi-sport indoor facility. Parents drive their kids to the complex everyday, dodging the dozens of craters on the roadway.

Also in the same parking lot, is Twin Cities Meals on Wheels and the North Tonawanda School Board.

Bus drivers tell News 4 many people have wrecked their cars trying to avoid hitting a pothole over the last several years.

“This road and the parking lot has been messed up for the whole 12 years I’ve been here, this is the worst that I’ve seen it so far,” said Mike Janda, bus driver for North Tonawanda Schools.

Road conditions are so bad, the president of Twin Cities Meals on Wheels says he is losing volunteers which is critical to the nonprofit.

“We’ve dropped five or six recently because of the situation with our potholes. If you don’t have volunteers, you don’t function,” said Karl Bauer, President of Twin Cities Meals on Wheels.

City officials say since the road is private property, they can’t repair it, but the city did send property maintenance letters to Sportsplex Inc.

“We sent letters asking them to maintain the property or remediate the property. The road is like a minefield, it’s unacceptable,” said Eric Zadzilka, North Tonawana City Council President.

Zadzilka says the school board is considering purchasing the property, but Sportsplex hasn’t been cooperative until recently.

Motorists say they want the road torn up and repaired.

“I’d like to see it dug up and done right,” said Janda.

“We’ve spent enough time on the problem, now lets spend 90 percent of our time on the solution,” said Zadzilka.

For the first time, city officials are supposed to meet with both members of the school board and Sportsplex to come up with a resolution. A meeting is scheduled to take place within the next week.

News 4 reached out to Sportsplex, but the owner declined to comment.

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