The Town of Amherst has been awarded $4.85 million from a state fund to replace one of two bridges that carries John James Audubon Parkway over Ellicott Creek near the University at Buffalo.
The concrete box beam bridge that carries southbound traffic was flagged by the state Department of Transportation because inspectors noted deterioration of the concrete and fascia in spots, said Town Engineer Jeffrey Burroughs.
"It's something that the DOT wants us to fix," he said, noting the bridge has reached the end of its 35-year useful lifespan.
Amherst's plan is to give the parkway a "road diet," which may include combining north- and southbound traffic onto the new bridge and converting the northbound bridge for pedestrians only. Inspectors anticipate similar deterioration issues to occur with the northbound bridge and want to prevent the need for replacement of that bridge, as well.
Work to replace the town-owned bridge could begin as early as 2018, Burroughs said.
"We're excited to get the grant," he said. "We're ready to go."
The money is from the state's 2016 BRIDGE NY program. Recommended projects were identified on the basis of a competitive scoring process and consideration of available funds. The town leveraged other grants to win the award and will contribute matching funds of 5 percent, Burroughs said.