Ed Morgan is not convinced...yet.
"They haven't committed. They're doing the design and obviously they got a budget they're looking at, too," Morgan said.
He's referring to the New York State Department of Transportation.
As highway supervisor of the Orleans County town of Murray, Morgan has been after the DOT for years.
In the agency's inventory of roads and bridges it is responsible for, is a collection of spans over the historic waterway. And as 2 On Your Side discovered in April, the DOT's canal bridges are generally in sorry shape.
Bridges are inspected and graded. 2 On Your Side found the largest collection of WNY's worst rated bridges are the DOT's Erie Canal bridges. When 2 On Your Side visited these bridges we found large gaps under cement piling supporting the structures and advanced rust creating holes in I-beams supporting the bridge decks.
Then, came the surprise.
In late November, an email was sent to local officials announcing the department was developing a project to repair seven of the Orleans County canal bridges. (Details on the bridges targeted for repair are at the bottom of this article.
"I didn't know it was coming," said State Senator Robert Ortt.
Assembly Member Stephen Hawley agrees.
"This came as quite a surprise actually," he said.
The email says the DOT plans "to restore (the bridges) to full capacity" without detailing what that means.
That has Morgan wondering.
"What scares me is that the traveling public has no idea what four tons means," Morgan said.
A number of canal bridges has deteriorated so badly that the maximum vehicle weight limits is down to just four tons.
“My half-ton Chevy pick-up with two little tool boxes in it weights 65-hundred pounds. Anything more than that shouldn’t legally go across those bridges. But we see it day-in and day-out,” Morgan said.
For larger vehicles like snow plows, school buses, delivery truck, tractor trailers, ambulances and fire equipment the weight-limited bridges are functionally dead-ends.
Will the DOT restore the bridges so heavy vehicles will be able to use them? The DOT did not respond to 2 On-Your-Side's requests to speak with someone about this issue.
BRIDGES ON THE DOT's TO-DO LIST: