DEPEW, NY -- The viaducts along a busy stretch of Transit Road have been deteriorating for years, but the Mayor of Depew is calling on the state to do something about them.
Mayor Steven Hoffman says the problem is that the part of Transit Road stretching across more than one mile of his village was built in 1937, and while it has gotten routine maintenance, it has not been widened. Hoffman says 30 to 40-thousand cars and trucks travel on that stretch of Transit Road every day.
Hoffman adds that chunks of concrete could fall onto cars or people in those viaducts. He also wants more businesses to come to his community, and he says the current bottleneck situation is not helping the economy.
He realizes it would be an expensive project because of the four railroad bridges that would have to be replaced, but he says the safety of drivers is his top priority.
"I drive it every day, and you know, I pick my spots so I don't get in that situation. The drain intakes on the sides of the roads are like hitting potholes. You can't avoid them. You have to go over the drain intake. So I expect it, I know it's there and I brace for it," says Hoffman.
Hoffman tells us the Transit Road project just made a priority list for DOT projects that have to start by October of 2014, but whether that actually happens he does not know.
But, we talked with the DOT's Regional Director Friday and he told us that while there were plans in the 90s to overhaul Transit Road, those plans were scratched when the price tag kept going up. Right now, it would cost more than $50 million to fix the corridor, and while federal funds would help, it's just too expensive, and there is no project planned.
The DOT says it is always looking for smaller projects, but that the narrowness of the road does not contribute to accidents. The problems are at the intersections. If a widening project ever happened, homes and businesses would be impacted. That is just not something that the state is even thinking about at this point because of the price. Simply put, the state tells us Transit Road functions "as is."