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State, federal funds allow earlier start on roadwork Projects include new customs plaza

Work on eight bridges in Erie County, including a new Peace Bridge customs plaza, and 18 roads in Erie and Niagara counties are expected to be accelerated by the release of federal and state funds through new regional contracts.

By bundling together project approvals for the first time, the New York Works program hopes to allow bridge and pavement improvements to start as early as this year, as opposed to two to five years from now, state officials said Tuesday.

The Peace Bridge project is one beneficiary, according to Ron Rienas, general manager of the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority.

"The state is working to accelerate the Peace Bridge project and move it along in terms of property acquisition, and assistance with other state agencies and the City of Buffalo," he said.

Groundbreaking is expected next year on a $15 million to $20 million customs building, Rienas said. Companies are sought to redeck the bridge.

This year's transportation pot of money includes $247 million in state funds and $917 million from the federal Department of Transportation.

Bridge improvements include deck replacements over the Kensington Expressway on Hospital Drive, Deerfield Avenue and Delavan Avenue in Buffalo; Union Road over the Kensington in Cheektowaga; Route 400 over Lein Road in West Seneca; and Route 400 over Jamison Road in Elma.

About 292 miles of area roads are expected to be repaired.

Erie County repairs include French Road in Como Park; Maple Road, by the University at Buffalo; the Hamburg Village underpass; the Peace Bridge ramp; and the Chestnut Ridge Park entrance in Orchard Park.

In Niagara County, the expedited road improvements are Route 425, Route 62 to Lockport Road; Transit Road, Erie County line to City of Lockport, and Route 93 to Lockport Bypass; and Route 104, Lewiston village line to Model City Road.

In Allegany County, roadwork includes Interstate 86, Cuba to Friendship; and Route 305, Cuba to Belfast.

In Cattaraugus County, roadwork includes Route 219, Route 98 to Ellicottville south village line; Route 417, Village of Portville; Route 305-S, Route 417 to Pennsylvania line; and parts of Routes 39, 353, 322 and 62.

In Chautauqua County, roadwork includes Route 20, Westfield to Brocton village line; Strunk Road, Route 430 to I-86; and parts of Routes 394, 426, 76 and 62.

The accelerated bridges had to be on a state deficient list, with construction able to begin in 2012, and be eligible for federal funding.

email: msommer@buffnews.com