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Dangerous road conditions hit a construction roadblock

Many news sources highlight stories of the dangers of distracted driving, such as the use of electronic devices like cellphones or GPS. Negligent drivers who are distracted, drunk or drowsy are common causes of serious car accidents throughout Erie County.

However, one problem that has come to the attention of political representatives seeking reelection this fall, is the dangerous road conditions on Interstate 86; covering an 11.5 mile stretch on the Southern Tier Expressway.

Recently, one woman learned firsthand the dangerous condition of the I-86 section. While driving with her five children, ranging in age from one-month to 12-years-old, the Corning woman's vehicle struck numerous potholes -- causing damage to her 2012 mini-van.

Thankfully, the woman was able to keep control of her vehicle and drive it to the side of the road safely -- waiting for almost an hour and a half for a tow truck to arrive.

It was after this terrifying incident, the woman took matters into her own hands by contacting her local representatives, the DOT commissioner and the president of the Seneca Nation. She also notified local television stations of her recent encounter. She asked why no one has taken action to repair this dangerous section of road. The experience for her (and several other motorists) has been frustrating and costly.

She was informed that the roadway has hit a "speed bump" due to a conflict between the state and Seneca Nation. Apparently, before state workers will be permitted to begin working on the road, the state is required to pay a 3.5 percent administrative fee to the Native American group as agreed upon in a 1993 rule. The fee would total nearly $1 million. In turn, the Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance (TERO) would pay approximately $28.5 million to monitor the construction project.

However, the conflict between the groups involved is no consolation for this woman and the numerous others who have been negatively impacted by this "public safety risk."

While thankfully the woman and her children were not injured in this particular incident, not all motorists affected by dangerous roadway conditions are as fortunate. Dangerous road conditions can lead to serious personal injuries; causing loss of property and wages, in addition to expenses for vehicle repairs and medical bills.

Source: The Post-Journal, "Driver's Vehicle Feels Wrath of I-86 Road Problems," Eric Tichy, May 30, 2012

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