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THRUWAY PLANS MAJOR WORK ON ISLE BRIDGES

Repair of the North Grand Island bridges is the big-ticket item on a $48 million list of Thruway construction projects in Western New York for 2001 released by the authority Thursday.

The road and bridge maintenance work is in addition to a $60.5 million lane-widening project announced earlier by the State Thruway Authority for a section of the mainline Thruway between the Route 400 and I-190 interchanges in Cheektowaga and West Seneca.

The Grand Island bridges and other local projects are part of a $220 million statewide Thruway capital plan.

Repairs to the Grand Island bridges are expected to begin this spring and cost $15 million to $20 million, said Thruway spokesman Terry O'Brien.

Other large local projects include repaving the Thruway between the Batavia and Le Roy exits, $3 million to $5 million; replacing the South Ogden Street bridge in Buffalo, $2 million to $3 million; and replacing the Amsdell Road bridge near Hamburg, $2 million to $3 million.

About $90 million, or 40 percent, of this year's Thruway capital budget statewide will be for bridge repair and replacement. Federal Highway Administration statistics indicate that 40 percent of the bridges in New York are obsolete and in need of repair.

"The projects being announced today reinforce our commitment to providing a safe and reliable transportation network for our citizens and our children," Gov. George E. Pataki said.

Another $33 million of the overall Thruway Authority budget will go to highway projects, with the remaining $38 million being used for infrastructure repairs and revitalization projects on the state canal system.

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