Seneca Nation and NYS Agree on Thruway Repairs

READ: Letter from Nation to NYS

Brendan Keany
September 25, 2019 - 11:31 am

WBEN Photo/Brendan Keany

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Salamanca, N.Y. (WBEN) - The Seneca Nation of Indians has announced an agreement has been reached with New York State to allow for repairs to a deteriorated section of the New York State Thruway that crosses Nation property in southern Erie County.

The Nation has sent a letter to the Thruway Authority asking for details of the project and requesting a meeting to discuss the repairs.

The agreement follows several days of direct communication between Nation and NYSTA officials. The proposed repairs will be done in two phases, with work starting on the most dangerous sections of highway in the coming days. The second phase will involve a more thorough milling and paving project. The Nation’s Transportation Department will coordinate with NYSTA to try to complete the repairs.

“After multiple requests, the Seneca Nation was finally able to engage the New York State Thruway Authority in direct communication over the last several days regarding the deplorable condition of this stretch of Thruway,” said President Rickey Armstrong, Sr. “That direct communication resulted in a cooperative agreement, so that this work can finally begin.”

The agreement outlines two phases of work. The initial phase, which is expected to begin within the next few days, involves repairing the most dangerous sections of the Thruway. Phase 2, which should take no longer than ten weeks, involves a more thorough milling and paving project. The Nation and the Thruway Authority are working to complete all of the work before winter, but may have to schedule Phase 2 in the Spring of 2020, depending on weather conditions and the availability of asphalt to complete the project. 

The Thruway Authority also responded to the deal.

"After a long five years, we are very pleased that the Nation finally agrees that this work must be completed as soon as possible," said Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew Driscoll. "As promised, we have crews at the ready who will begin work tomorrow to focus on stabilizing and sustaining the roadways for all motorists as we head into the winter months."

Now that an agreement has been reached on the Thruway repairs, the Nation is urging New York State to address other glaring transportation issues on Nation land, including poor state roadway conditions in Salamanca.

Listen to Armstrong's full comments below:

Congressman Tom Reed praised the announcement. "Fixing the road is the right thing to do for the safety of the travelling public,” says Reed. “We were happy to lead the public outcry over the road conditions for the hardworking people we care about and represent, and we will continue to be your voice in both Albany and Washington, D.C.”

“I am thrilled that the effort led by Tom Reed and myself to bring attention and pressure to this long-neglected issue is resulting in the necessary repairs so thruway users can once again safely use that stretch of road,” Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello says.

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