Bard Road work starts in July

ARKWRIGHT – After several decades of trying to patch up Bard Road (County Route 72), the time has come to find a more permanent solution.

The section of Bard Road (500 feet) between Griswold Road and Rood Road in the town of Arkwright was shut down in April, and will be closed until the road is fixed sometime in the fall.

Construction of the road took place in the 1930s, and it has been experiencing sliding ever since.

Various past efforts in patching the road have no longer been beneficial, making it a necessity to permanently fix the road before someone gets hurt.

The Chautauqua County Department of Public Facilities is working diligently on a plan to save the historic road. Engineer Alexey Brumagin announced the department is designing reconstruction of the road starting in July.

“We hope to have it reopened before winter,” he said. “We want people to be able to drive on the road again. Our efforts are focused on working out a solution.”

Brumagin added that whole portion of the roadway has moved even more than in the past.

If the solution fails, the county would have two options. It would have to permanently abandon the road, or create a whole new alignment.

One concerned Arkwright resident, who wished to remain anonymous, wants people to stop riding their motorcycles down the closed portion of the road, because it is dangerous.

County Executive Vince Horrigan confirmed the road has seen its fair share of quick-fix patches.

“Over seven years, it has been refurbished,” he said. “The actual foundation of the road is causing it to slide. We have a resolution going forward to fix the road, but it is going to take some time.”

Chautauqua County Public Facilities Director George Spanos addressed the issue of working on private property. Parts of the road that need fixing are located on private land.

“The road shouldn’t be driven on. We placed concrete barriers up to keep people from doing that,” he said. “We decided to close it down when we did to keep people safe.”

Spanos added a little background to the road’s headaches.

“Back in 1985, the decision to do extensive work made sense,” he said. “We can’t just pave it anymore. It will cost $400,000 to permanently fix the road, and we are responsible if anything happens. This is the main reason we closed down the road. Safety of the public is our number one priority.”

As for local business, the construction will not keep anyone away.

“Local residents have to drive on that road on a daily basis. People drive around the issue and go to the businesses,” Spanos said. “We become so accustomed to driving these roads we tend to take it for granted. We want people to be informed, and hopefully we will get to a point when the road is perfect again.”