Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Seneca Nation President Barry E. Snyder, Sr. today announced the re-opening of Interstate 86, the Southern Tier Expressway, between Exits 20 and 23 on the Allegany Territory of the Seneca Nation in Cattaraugus County. Interstate 86 had been closed to traffic since early May as part of a $21 million reconstruction project.
“Interstate 86 reopens today a more resilient roadway that will better serve residents and facilitate commercial activity in the Southern Tier," Governor Cuomo said. “This administration is committed to improving the quality of life for New Yorkers, and making smart investments in our infrastructure is absolutely critical.”
The Interstate 86 improvement project included the major rehabilitation of approximately seven miles of road surface between Exit 20 and three miles west of Exit 23, and minor rehabilitation of eight highway bridges. The eastbound ramps from Interstate 86 to Exit 20 were reconstructed and realigned to provide more developable land, and the westbound ramps at Exit 20 and the ramps at Exit 21 were rehabilitated. In addition, enhanced snow fencing, new traffic signs and drainage and new guide rail was installed on Interstate 86.
Seneca Nation President Barry E. Snyder, Sr. said, “We’re pleased to join in the reopening of the Southern Tier Expressway to the public traveling through our Allegany Territory. The investment in these roadway improvements follows our significant investments in the area it serves, including Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino, the Seneca Administrative Complex and several projects in the West End Commercial District. Combined, they provide a welcoming gateway to the attractions offered in the Southern Tier.”
State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald said, “Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, the Department continues to partner with the Seneca Nation and elected officials to improve the transportation infrastructure on the Interstate 86 corridor. This project has restored the ride-ability of the pavement and structural integrity of the bridges on the Sothern Tier Expressway, while providing a safer and more comfortable riding surface for its users.”
Interstate 86 was closed in both directions to facilitate highway and bridge reconstruction due to the physical constraints of the site and the proximity to the Allegheny River. Traffic was detoured on NY Route 417 but will now return to Interstate 86.
Congressman Tom Reed said, “The Expressway re-opened to the public with the assistance of both federal and state dollars. This is a prime example of working together to fund projects that can truly save lives while repairing our infrastructure to promote jobs in our area.”
Senator Catharine Young said, “It's a huge relief to finally have I-86 fixed and reopened. That stretch of roadway was treacherous because it had needed repairs for quite a while. By working together, an agreement finally was reached between the state and Seneca Nation, and the State Legislature appropriated the funds to move the project forward. The detour has been an inconvenience for many months, but the end result is fantastic. Travelers will be much safer now and traffic headaches have been cured.”
Assemblyman Joseph Giglio said, “The Southern Tier Expressway is a major transportation corridor vital to the residents and businesses of the Southern Tier and throughout the state and country. I'm truly pleased that the State, along with the Seneca Nation, has made the necessary and badly needed improvements to the highway. It is also important that we show our appreciation to those who were impacted by the I-86 detour during the last several months. Shutting down the Expressway and detouring all traffic allowed the reconstruction project to be completed in a safe, timely and cost efficient manner. I, along with many others, am thrilled to have the highway re-opened to motorists."
The project was one of several construction projects designed to improve the Interstate 86 corridor that has been completed over the last several years. The contractor on the project was Union Concrete and Construction Corporation of West Seneca, Erie County.