NY Works Program Aims to Boost Economy Through Infrastructure Improvements

Posted April 4, 2012

Cuomo details $1.2B for road and bridge projects
By Joseph Spector, Gannett Albany Bureau

ALBANY - Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday details of how the state will distribute nearly $1.2 billion in expedited funding for road and bridge projects.

The money is part of the 2012-13 state budget, which was approved last week and went into effect Sunday. Cuomo has billed the initiative as the NY Works program, saying it will be a way to bolster the state's economy through infrastructure improvements.

The program is a "new and smarter strategy for putting New Yorkers back to work by rebuilding our aging infrastructure and helping put our state's economy back on track," Cuomo said in a statement.

The Hudson Valley is receiving $218 million to repair 287 miles of road and 23 bridges, Cuomo said. The Southern Tier is getting $107 million to fix 155 miles of road and 23 bridges, while the Finger Lakes is receiving $32 million to repair 227 miles of roads and 10 bridges.

The money is coming from $247 million in state money and $917 million in federal funds. The funding is in addition to $1.6 billion already allocated this year for roads and bridges through the state Department of Transportation, according to Cuomo's office.

Statewide, the program this year is expected to rebuild 110 bridges and fix 2,000 miles of road.

The most expensive project announced Tuesday is $460 million to replace the Kosciuszko Bridge between Brooklyn and Queens.

About $81 million is being designated for the replacement of the eastbound span on the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge between Orange and Dutchess counties. About $25 million will go toward the abatement and painting of the bridge's west span.

Additionally, $85 million is being allocated for improvements to the Peace Bridge Toll Plaza in Buffalo. Another $145 million is being designated for the Patroon Island Bridge over the Hudson River on I-90 between Albany and Rensselaer counties.

The plans also include $32 million for the Patterson Bridge replacement in Corning. Another $24 million will go for the bridge replacement on the Sprain Brook Parkway in Westchester County over Route 119.

About $5.5 million is designated for the I-390 corridor improvements in Rochester, part of $26 million the governor has pledged for the $100 million project this year. Another $6 million is set for repairs to I-390 in Livingston County.

The expedited road and bridge work will help restore confidence in New York's economy, said Michael Elmendorf, president of the Associated General Contractors of New York State, which is based in Albany.

"Investing in infrastructure is a big job-creator itself, but the rest of our economy relies on this infrastructure," Elmendorf said.

The work is being sped up in large part to a state law adopted last December that lets New York undertake design-build construction. The process expedites road and bridge work by having architects, engineers and a construction contractor all working together from the start of a project, which streamlines the duties.

New York's infrastructure has critical needs. A series by Gannett's Albany Bureau last fall found that 36 percent of the state's bridges are in need of repair and a similar percentage had been deemed either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

Cuomo and the state Legislature agreed in the state budget to fund infrastructure projects sooner rather than wait for future years, with Cuomo urging that it would be an economic stimulator. A 15-member task force controlled by Cuomo will oversee the work.

The projects need to meet a certain criteria to be put on the fast track. Bridges set for repair or replacement need to be on the state's deficit bridge list, need to be able to begin this year and be eligible for federal funding.

The state Bridge Authority was planning to start the work a few years from now to upgrade the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, but moved up its schedule as part of Cuomo's program, said authority spokesman John Bellucci.

"It's necessary work. It'll really help preserve the bridge better, which means less low-term maintenance," Bellucci said. "So we're making the right investment at the right time. The more people we can get to work right now, that's an added bonus to the Hudson Valley."

The accelerated New York Works Transportation Projects in the Southern Tier:

Southern Tier Roads
» Route 17/I-86 Conversion, Tioga County: This project is being accelerated from state fiscal year 2013-14, and will upgrade a portion of Route 17 in Tioga County to meet interstate standards for I-86 designation, $12,000,000.
» Route 14, from Broad Street to Veteran Town line: Chemung County, pavement preservation treatment, $750,750.
» Route 328, from State Line to Route 14: Chemung County, pavement preservation treatment, $2,250,750.
» Route 225, from S. Corning to Golden Glow: Chemung County, pavement preservation treatment, $2,920,750.
» Route 13, from Chemung County line to Tompkins County line: Schuyler County, pavement preservation treatment, $220,750.

Southern Tier Bridges
» Route 352 Patterson Bridge Replacement Project: This project is being accelerated into this fiscal year from state fiscal year 2013-14. This bridge carries the major commuting route to the City of Corning, serving 17,000 daily users and is critical to the city’s downtown commercial district. The bridge is currently at risk of being closed, and the replacement project ensures this vital artery to Corning remains open. $32,200,000.
» Latta Brook Road over I-86 in the Town of Horseheads: Chemung County, deck replacement, $1,480,350.
» Route 417 over Bennetts Creek in the Town of Greenwood: Steuben County, deck replacement $2,119,350.
» Michigan Hollow Road (Route 961J) over Genesee Expressway (I-390) in the Town of Avoca: Steuben County, deck replacement, $2,843,550.
» I-86 westbound over Bath Hammondsport Railroad (BHRR) in the Town of Bath: Steuben County, deck replacement, $3,248,250.
» I-86 eastbound over, BHRR in the Town of Bath: Steuben County, deck replacement, $3,248,250.
» I-86 westbound over BHRR in the Town of Bath: Steuben County, deck replacement $2,492,100.
» I-86 eastbound over BHRR in the Town of Bath: Steuben County, deck replacement, $3,514,500.
» Route 36 over Loder Sreet In the Town of Homellsville: Steuben County, deck replacement, $2,875,500.
» Route 417 over Tuscarora Creek in the Town of Tuscarora: Steuben County, deck replacement, $1,288,650.
» Route 17 eastbound over Fulton Street in the Town of Barton: Tioga County, deck replacement, $783,840.
» Route 17 westbound over Fulton Street in the Town of Barton: Tioga County, deck replacement, $783,840.

Source: New York State Governor’s Office

(For original story, please visit http://www.stargazette.com/article/20120403/NEWS01/204030382/Cuomo-details-1-2B-road-bridge-projects?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE.)

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