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Thruway to get repairs along bumpy section

Motorists driving on the Thruway in West Seneca have no doubt noticed an odd rolling motion in their car while traveling from concrete slab to concrete slab, but the state hopes to change that.

The "washboard effect" has become very noticeable on the highway between its Niagara Thruway and Route 400 interchanges, said Tom Pericak, the Thruway Authority's Buffalo Division director. An estimated $5 million to $7 million concrete pavement repair project is set to commence next year as part of a $230 million Thruway Authority capital program.

A plan to repair pavement and install movable median barriers on the Thruway and the Niagara Thruway could begin this summer at the earliest.

The median barriers can easily be removed in emergency situations, such as the Dec. 3 snowstorm that stranded motorists on the Thruway for much of the day. Removable barriers will make U-turns possible in such a scenario so drivers can head away from the blockage, Pericak said.

"This would help a lot during the winter," he said. "We can manually move [the barriers] out of the way if necessary."

The project will be carried out on the Thruway from the Williamsville toll barrier to William Street and on the Niagara Thruway from Church Street to the Peace Bridge. Ramp-closure gates will also be installed along both highways, eliminating the need for state troopers at the ramps during road closures.

Other 2011 projects include:

*Pavement rehabilitation at the Thruway's Lackawanna toll barrier.

*Concrete pavement repairs on the Niagara Thruway from Ontario Street to River Road.

*Pavement rehabilitation on the Thruway west of Pembroke to Depew.

*Deck repairs and a new wearing surface on the southbound lanes of the South Grand Island Bridge. Lane-designation signals will also be installed.

e-mail: jbolitho@buffnews.com