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Worry aired on Depew rail bridges

Several weeks ago, Fix It addressed concerns about cosmetically challenged railroad overpasses in Cheektowaga.

Then several readers chimed in about four Depew railroad overpasses that appear in need of full reconstructive surgery.

"Have you seen or heard about the railroad bridges over Transit Road in Depew?" wrote Dale Brewer. "They are crumbling. [Rebar] is showing everywhere. It is not just a little bit of deterioration."

"These support columns are gone by [50] percent or more. Please go look," Brewer wrote.

And from Joe J. Magiera:

"I question whether the design allows for this level of deterioration. It looks very unsafe and one wonders how long it will be before it is considered unstable."

"A failure would be catastrophic," Magiera wrote.

Three of the bridges are owned by the railroads that divided the spoils of the former Conrail, and the fourth was bought by Erie County as a spur for an industrial park that had been planned for Lancaster.

While maintenance falls to the owners, the state Department of Transportation reportedly is responsible for inspections, because the bridges span Route 78, also known as Transit Road.

Fix It contacted the DOT early last week, asking questions about the bridges, but a spokeswoman said Friday that she didn't have the answers yet.

Depew Village Clerk Robert Kuciewicz said the rebar has been visible on the bridges since he was a child, four decades ago.

"It's been a long time that they have looked like that," he said. "They've looked bad; I don't know whether the structure is a problem."

Fix It is here to help get action on problems readers of The News encounter in their daily travels. To report them, leave a voice mail message on the Fix It line at 849-6026, e-mail fixit@buffnews.com or send a letter to Fix It, c/o The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, Buffalo, NY 14203.

e-mail: jhabuda@buffnews.com

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