In a June 1st Democrat and Chronical article entitled “These are the 10 worst-rated bridges in Monroe County” columnist Meaghan M. McDermott appropriately displays the poor and worsening condition of 10 of our area bridges. But it is also worth noting that much of our remaining infrastructure is also in significant disrepair. There is no question that inadequate funding has fostered an inability to address these concerns and over recent years the situation has grown to substantial proportions. Monroe County, as well as the entirety of New York State, is suffering from a lack of transportation funding. Too many of our roads and bridges are rated as poor, structurally deficient, and obsolete. Every year, the conditions get worse while the funding had remained insufficient at best.
But, to the credit of our law makers, on both sides of the aisle and in a bi-partisan manner, we have recently witnessed a much focused effort to address these issues, and an historic amount of federal and state funding is finally making its way through the system. Much credit must also be given to the men and women who work at the Genesee Transportation Council, the NYS Department of Transportation, and the independent contractors they employ. They continue to maintain our highway and transportation systems with a very high degree of competency and with very limited resources; they have done, and continue to do, an outstanding job.
For example, of the 10 bridges identified in the June 1st article it is important to note that 7 of them are currently under replacement, repair or are scheduled and funded for future work. They are as follows:
• Route I-490 over Marsh Road: This Bridge is currently under Construction.
• Ontario Street over Irondequoit Creek: Funded in the next *TIP (Transportation Improvement Program) with Construction scheduled to begin in 2020
• Route 390 NB over Trolley Blvd: Funded in the next TIP with Construction in 2018
• Inner Loop over Browns Raceway: This Bridge is currently under Construction
• Lyell Avenue over Route 390: Funding has been secured in the current federal fiscal year
• Route 390 SB over Trolley Blvd: Funded in the next TIP with Construction in 2018
• Broad Street over Genesee River: This Bridge is currently under Construction
This leaves us with three of our worst 10 bridges still in a state of disrepair and without any immediate plans for repair. Those bridges are:
• I-490 EB over CSX Tracks: Status TBD
• Route 250 over Thomas Creek: Status TBD
• Scottsville-Chili Road over Black Creek: Status TBD
There is a continued need to increase resources for our roads and bridges, and the task of stretching what limited resources we do receive is a feat in itself. Various groups such as Unions and Business United for Construction (UNiCON), Builders Exchange of Rochester, Construction Industry Association of Rochester, the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, American Council of Engineering Society, The Transportation Investment Advocacy Center ™ (TIAC), Associated General Contractors of New York State and others continue to come together to advocate for transportation funds for our region and we remain grateful for all their efforts.
Joseph P. Leone
* The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) is a 4-year financial program that describes the schedule for obligating federal funds to state and local projects. The TIP contains funding information for all modes of transportation including highways and bridges as well as transit capital and operating costs. The 2017-2020 TIP was adopted by the Genesee Transportation Council at its June 9, 2016 meeting.