Remediation work will start Thursday on a long-neglected section of the New York State Thruway that runs through Seneca Nation territory.
Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong signed an agreement in Salamanca Wednesday allowing the New York State Thruway Authority to come on the Cattaraugus Territory and make repairs.
The state is keeping its promise to begin work immediately on the three-mile stretch of road.
The Thruway Authority said it’s been attempting to reach this agreement with the Senecas for more than five years.
The Nation said that’s not the whole story and the state continually canceled or rescheduled meetings to discuss transportation needs.
Regardless, there has been communication over the last two weeks and Armstrong said he’s looking to the future.
“We’re happy with this important step and our focus is to make sure the repairs get done,” he said. “There’s no benefit in rehashing the past history for either the state or the Nation. I think it’s more important to move forward and focus on positive communication.”
Armstrong said there are other state roads on Seneca Territory handled by the state Department of Transportation and he hopes this opens up the lines of communication for those repairs too.
In a statement, Rep. Tom Reed said fixing the road is "the right thing thing to do for the safety of the travelling public. 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."
Crews will begin making the most urgent repairs on the I-90 starting Thursday and will begin a full reconstruction project after that.
The state expects it to take up to 10 weeks and hopes to be finished before winter.
However, if the weather doesn’t cooperate, they’ll finish in the spring.