By Katie Atkins
PORTLAND - Town Supervisor Daniel Schrantz stood on Lake Avenue with a shovel in hand on Thursday, Oct. 3 announcing the beginning of construction for the new Peerless Street bridge.
Photo by Katie Atkins
The Peerless Street bridge and road project in Portland has officially begun. From left, Portland councilmen Gary Miller and Rick Manzella, Brocton Highway Superintendent Tom Allen, Portland Supervisor Daniel Schrantz, Portland Highway Superintendent Charles Kelley, Brocton Mayor David L. Hazelton, Dave Spann of Chautauqua County Soil and Water, Engineer Garrett M. Hacker and Brocton utility worker Jim Dolce.
After a brief speech by Schrantz, Brocton and Portland council members and highway superintendents dug their shovels into the earth to signify the beginning of what may be a year-long project.
Schrantz said, "This (new bridge) is very important for the safety and convenience of our residents."
In August 2011, the bridge was closed by the New York State Department of Transportation because of its deteriorating support system. Schrantz said Portland, Brocton and Chautauqua County worked together to come up with a plan.
Brocton Mayor David Hazelton said at the ceremony, "Let's get this bridge back in place for our residents."
After two years of discussion and research, a cost effective strategy was developed. Highway superintendents will work with crews on the project and it will be funded by Housing & Urban Development monies acquired in previous years.
Schrantz said he had spoken with state Senator Cathy Young and Assemblyman Andy Goodell about funding from the state but the availability of grants for the project was scarce. It was decided then that the two municipalities would come together to work on the bridge.
Schrantz ended with, "This is a good example of what great things can happen when we come together."
Construction work will be postponed through the winter months and resume in the spring. Project Manager Garrett M. Hacker said the bridge will most likely be finished by fall 2014.