Thruway Authority calls out Seneca Nation over I-90 repairs

Southern Tier

(WIVB)- New York State is again lashing out at the Seneca Nation for the condition of the thruway that runs through the territory.

The two groups have long had a political feud over who is responsible for moving forward with plans to re-pave the approximately 5-mile stretch of the 90.

Sunday, the thruway authority issued a statement, blaming the Senecas for not granting the state permission to make repairs.

The continued lack of cooperation has created a safety risk for travelers along that stretch of the thruway that affects nation members and other motorists alike…All you have to do is grant us permission and let us fix this stretch of road — just like we fix the other 500 miles of the thruway.

The Seneca Nation sent the following statement to News 4.

“For years, the Seneca Nation has made every accommodation for the State to complete routine maintenance on its roadways that cross our territories. There are larger transportation infrastructure needs that need to be addressed in a comprehensive way. We have not been able to get the State to the table for those discussions.

As far back as 2017, the Thruway Authority has canceled and rescheduled meetings with Nation officials to have a comprehensive discussion regarding important transportation issues. The bridge inspection work noted in the Thruway Authority’s letter is, in fact, a perfect example of how the Thruway Authority refuses to cooperate with the Seneca Nation. The Seneca Nation offered to conduct the overdue bridge inspections ourselves, using a certified highway inspection consulting firm. New York State refused to allow the inspection to proceed. It was then at the Seneca Nation’s request that the Federal Highway Authority stepped in to resolve the impasse and conduct the necessary inspections.

If the State is finally ready to take its obligation to public safety seriously and come to the table to address the many transportation-related issues that exist on Seneca Territory in a comprehensive way, the Nation remains ready to have that dialogue.”

The Thruway Authority Executive Director responded to the Seneca Nation’s earlier statement:

As I indicated in my initial letter, the Thruway Authority is ready to begin work to make the necessary repairs to this section of the Thruway and now seeks the SNI’s cooperation – nothing more. Instead of moving forward and agreeing to have the Authority begin work, the SNI – in public comments in the local media — is now requesting a meeting to “discuss larger transportation needs,” which will only create unnecessary delays to this critical work. While the Authority is not aware of what “larger transportation needs” the SNI refers to, we would nevertheless be happy to meet to discuss the other alleged issues once we have an agreement in place to address the work we both know needs to be completed. There is no reason to delay and hold the traveling public hostage to other purported issues that are clearly unrelated to conducting repairs to the Thruway. The Authority is once again requesting the SNI enter into a simple Project Specific Agreement (PSA), as has been done in the past, to ensure this work can be completed quickly and safely.”

Matthew J. Driscoll, Thurway Authority Executive Director

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