We the undersigned are requesting that the NYS Department of Transportation leave the Seneca Bridge on Route 370 open for both lanes of traffic during its repair. Leaving just the east-bound lane open will significantly affect all of us, forcing us to travel additional miles out of our way on a daily basis for almost half a year, 168 days (if the project is finished on schedule—and what is the likelihood of that?). In emergency situations, it will take over 20 additional minutes for rescue crews to reach us.
The revenues of all the businesses in our area—including the Elks Lodge #2348, Abbott Farm, J&S Marina, Beck’s Hardware & Garden Center, Tabatha’s Family Tree, Town Mechanical, Fleetwood Drywall, Inc., Timber Banks, Stepping Stone Child Center, and numerous home-based businesses—will suffer because their customers will be cut off with the bridge work. Customers are pressed for time and money; they will not travel an extra 20-40 minutes to be patrons of these businesses.
We cannot afford the additional time (over 20 minutes) and cost (over $800 for one trip per day) for each of us to travel an additional 1,400+ miles for the period that one lane is closed. Often, we travel across this bridge multiple times a day for employment, education, and childcare. Some of us bike to work or walk for our groceries over the bridge. The significant population of independent senior citizens living on a fixed income in our area will be especially burdened with extra travel costs.
The best solution would be for the Department of Transportation to leave this bridge open for both lanes of traffic. Closure or partial closure is not the only option. Last year, the DOT finished replacing the Route 370 Bridge over the Thruway (only a couple miles up from the Seneca River Bridge), and did not have to close that route at all. Furthermore, there were several practical alternate routes should they have closed that bridge, whereas in our case there is no viable bypass. And, when the DOT limited the bridge over the Thruway to one lane, they installed a system of alternating traffic so that drivers could pass through from both sides all day. Other more feasible workarounds during local bridge repairs have included work that takes place at night or on the weekends. The same consideration should be given to us affected by the Seneca River Bridge repair. Indeed, other contracts under consideration for the Seneca River Bridge repair proposed the installation of a preformed bridge. There is also the option of leaving the bridge open to eastbound travel 7–9A.M. and westbound travel 5–7P.M., with alternating traffic throughout the rest of the day. We will not settle for the damaging solution the DOT is currently pursuing.
We feel the DOT is not considering our personal and economic well-being in their plan to close this crucial bridge. Please assist us in our request to work out a better compromise with the DOT, one that respects the sick, the elderly, the underprivileged, and the business community—one in which the DOT leaves the bridge open to all traffic for us who live in the immediate area.