By Jann Wiswall
Property owners along Maples Road (Cattaraugus County Rt. 13) from Kent Rd./Hencoop Hollow to just beyond Hollister Hill Road in the town of Mansfield have been waiting for roadway improvements for many years – decades according to some. And according to Mark Burr, director of engineering in the County’s Department of Public Works, the wait is nearly, but not quite, over.
The project calls for raising, widening and straightening portions of the road, replacing a bridge, repairing corners and ditches, substantially improving drainage and resurfacing the entire road.
As Burr explained to the Mansfield board at its May 16 meeting, the county has been working on the project for 5-6 years, a typical timeline for projects of this size. It is fully designed and engineered. The last step, he said, is getting final environmental permits (the area has sensitive wetlands that must be protected), which may take another month or so. At that point, the project can go out for bid.
Realistically, he said, the earliest start date would be about three months from now (mid-late August). However, he pointed out that the road will be closed to through traffic for the duration of the project, and he said that he will not allow the project to begin if completion cannot be guaranteed before winter.
“We have to have it open to traffic through the busy tourist season,” he said.
The worst-case scenario would be a delay until spring 2017.
Burr said estimates put the cost of the project in the $3.5-4 million range, which is less than originally expected thanks to lower oil prices.
The official detour – from Rt. 242 in Ellicottville and all the way through Little Valley to Toad Hollow Road and back around – is intended for trucks and through traffic. Burr noted that other, shorter routes are readily available for local drivers.
“This is an important investment in the community,” Burr said, adding that “It’s long overdue and we’re excited to get it done.” He promised to keep the board informed and up-to-date on its progress.
The next meeting of the Mansfield board will be held on Monday, June 20 at 7 p.m. at the town hall. All are welcomed.