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PANEL NOTES AREA ROADS ARE IMPROVED OVER 2001

More than half the highways and byways in Erie and Niagara counties get a "good" rating, according to a new report from a regional transportation agency.

The Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council released a survey Friday that found 53.5 percent of roads were in good condition, compared to 46 percent in a 2001 condition report.

The biannual road condition assessment, conducted by the New York State Department of Transportation and the council, reviewed some 4,800 lane miles of roadway in the two counties. The survey rated 21 percent of roads as "fair," 15.6 percent as "poor," and 9.4 percent as "excellent."

Highest ratings went to roads in the Interstate and Expressway categories, while so-called "urban collectors," in the cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls were at the lowest end of the ratings scale.

The just-released governmental assessment stands in sharp contrast to a study unveiled earlier this month by the Road Information Project, a construction industry-backed trade group, which rated 25 percent of area roads as "poor," and only 32 percent as "good."

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