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Harlem Road bridge closed because of safety concerns expected to reopen by 2 p.m.

The Harlem Road bridge on the Cheektowaga-West Seneca border that closed Thursday evening over concerns about its safety is expected to reopen by 2 p.m. Friday, the state Department of Transportation said.

The bridge spans the area where Cayuga and Buffalo Creeks meet, just south of Clinton Street.

Concrete near an expansion joint at one end of the bridge came loose, according to Dan Paskie, DOT's regional construction engineer.

"Some concrete broke away; enough for us to decide to close the bridge," he said.

The state is spending $15 million in federal funds to replace the span in an adjacent project. Paskie noted that Thursday's problem occurred on the old bridge that will be replaced later this year by an adjacent structure now under construction.

"This bridge is very old and in bad condition, and unfortunately some concrete broke away," he said. "That's why we're out there making the repairs."

Rob Weimer and Fred Anna said they were walking across the bridge at about 6:30 p.m. Thursday as DOT workers began closing it off with orange and white barriers.

The workers told them that the expansion joints of the bridge were expanding too much and posed a danger, the men told The Buffalo News.


Sara Wigdor, a cashier at the Mobil Eco Mart at Clinton Street and Harlem Road, near the bridge, said police blocked access to the bridge about 5 p.m. and that at least 20 drivers came into the shop complaining.

"They were all mad because the Thruway was closed and they couldn't use the bridge, either," she said. "And they had no warning about the conditions."

Tim Cousins, who lives in Buffalo's Kaisertown neighborhood, complained the bridge closing should be better marked.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz pointed out in a tweet that the situation with the bridge was especially troublesome because the county Public Works barns are just north of it.

"Drivers can't take direct route to snow," he tweeted.

Three years ago, the bridge’s structure was blamed for ice-jam flooding in West Seneca.

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