ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – If you ask drivers around Elmira, they’ll tell you, many roads are in bad shape and full of potholes. The Commissioner of Chemung County Public Works says work has started on the first of 29 projects to repave county roads, bridges and highways, including 18 roads in the city of Elmira. Andy Avery says crews have started working on Chambers Road (County Route 35) from Murphy Hill Road to Tompkins Corner, not far from Elmira Corning Regional Airport. Avery says for now, the work mostly involves tree cutting and ditching to clear the right of way. More work will begin in the Spring and continue into the Fall. Mr. Avery says he expects all road projects to be completed by late November or early December. He adds much of the paving work is expected to be completed earlier.

“That is our main concern, keeping the roads in good shape and providing safety and convenience for our drivers,” Avery told 18 news reporter Nicolas Dubina. “I think our roads are in pretty good shape,” said Avery. If you look at our condition report that we’ve been doing every two years, we’re improving. All of our roads are in fair if not in good to excellent shape. The roads that are in poor shape are generally scheduled for replacement in the next year or two. If you look at the system as a whole, we are in good shape. There’s always going to be areas that have a pothole. It’s just like maintaining a home. There’s always areas that you’re going to do next year. A highway system is no different. So, I would say that we are in good shape. Our bridges are in decent shape. There’s always a lack of funding with bridges. Everybody sees a pothole, everybody sees striping that may not have been repainted. But you don’t see what’s underneath the bridge. So, it’s doubly important for us to get the bridges inspected and make sure that we keep those in very good shape.”

“I do commute here every day for school and I’ve noticed it’s gotten pretty bad over the last six months, especially on this road here,” said Christian Zwierlein, a student at Elmira College. “Kind of damaging to the car. I’ve had a flat tire, and some things on the bottom of the car fell off.”

“I’ve only lived here for about a year and I think the potholes are just horrendous,” said Laura Fox after she filled up her car. “There’s too many potholes, there’s just too much going on. You don’t know where to drive, because you’re gonna hit something.”

Here is the full list of 2023 road projects from the Chemung County Dept. of Public Works:

Milled and Repaved

  • Church St. (N. Main to Guinnip Ave.)
  • N. Main St. (Water St. to 2nd St.)
  • Roe Ave. (Hoffman to Walnut)
  • Lake St. (Water to E. Clinton)
  • Erie St. (Miller to Lake Ave.)
  • Sullivan Viaduct (Judson to East Ave.)
  • Lake St. (Wash to Warren)

Overlays (resurfacing)

  • Willys St. (Erie to the dead end)
  • Garden Rd. (Hoffman to Edgewood)
  • Euclid Ave. (Clinton to Fassett)
  • Valentine St. (Miller to Schuyler)
  • Oak St. (Wash to Harper)
  • Coburn St. (S. Walnut to the dead end)
  • Judson St. (Oak to Madison)
  • Powell/Boardman St. (Partridge to Lafrance)
  • Kendall Pl. (Davis to College)
  • Linden Pl. Ext. (Sullivan to City Yards)
  • Pleasant (Mt. Zoar to Franklin)

Other Chemung County Projects

  • Milling and repaving
    • Sing Sing Rd. – CR17 (Retirement Estates to Chambers South)
    • Schweizer Rd. – CR43 (new pavement to the dead end)
    • Philo Rd. – CR70 (the entire street)
    • Grand Central Ave. – CR62 (McConnell to Roosevelt)
  • Asphalt Recycling and Topping
    • Chambers Rd. – CR35 (Tompkins Corner to Murphy Hill)
  • Chip Sealing
    • Bird Creek Rd. – CR27
    • Sagetown Rd. – CR78
    • Lowman-Greatsinger Rd. – CR2
    • Warner St. – CR46
    • Langford Creek Rd. – CR13
    • Park Station Rd. – CR76

Mr. Avery is also part of a group calling for an additional 270 million dollars to be included in Gov. Kathy Hochul’s 2023-24 budget, for the CHIPS highway improvement program and the Extreme Winter Recovery Fund. Avery says the extra money is needed to maintain the same level of funding as last year due to rising inflation. The State of New York is currently in its second year of a $32 billion five-year investment plan for the New York State Department of Transportation.

“What really happened was the funding that was granted us in the past was eaten up by inflation in the last two years, said Avery. “Everybody knows, whether it’s at the grocery store, or at Walmart or any of our local stores, we know that we’ve been hit hard with inflation. It’s the same for our highway crews. Prices of steel have gone up, asphalt has gone up, fuel has gone up. That affects us as well as all the drivers on the road. So, it’s important that we try to maintain and even increase our ability to provide a safe, convenient product on the road. Right now, all the increases they gave us, we actually have less spending power than we had two years ago. So that’s why we’re looking for the 200 million extra dollars.”