The state approved a $440 million increase in CHIPs funding and created two new programs devoted to transportation infrastructure.

The Lane Ranger comes to you this week following another cold, snowy commute — but with the promise of a coming thaw, particularly in regards to highway funding.

Following the Legislature’s approval last week of a $156 billion budget, the New York State Association of Counties is applauding the investments in local transportation infrastructure projects.

"Counties and local governments have been struggling to fund certain road, bridge, and culvert maintenance and construction projects since the start of the great recession in 2008,” said Saratoga County Supervisor Jean Raymond, chairwoman of NYSAC's transportation standing committee. “The money has just not been there, and our roads are showing their wear. The infusion of this funding will go a long way to building a stronger infrastructure in all of our communities."

In addition to a $440 million increase in CHIPs funding and flat funding for the Marchiselli program ($39.7 million to help match federal aid projects), state leaders created two new programs devoted to transportation infrastructure.

The Pave NY/Bridge NY program will receive $800 million over the next four years for local roads and bridges. This includes $400 million — $100 million per year — for local projects distributed based on the CHIPS formula and $400 million for local bridge projects that will incorporate local solicitation.

"This is an area of true need for counties and all local governments,” said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario. “By dedicating an allocation directly to local governments, and requiring local input in other areas of road and bridge investment, these new programs will incorporate the needs of the community with the new investment by the state.”

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Closer to home, construction is resuming on a $6 million project to improve the condition of 17 bridge decks along the Route 104 corridor between Dewitt Road and Salt Road in the town of Webster, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Long-term lane closures in the area of Route 250 began Monday and will progress to other areas throughout the summer months.

Different levels of maintenance will be applied to each of the bridges to improve the overall condition of the structures and provide a smooth riding surface.

Drivers can plan on a combination of daily and long-term single-lane closures per location. No work will take place the weekends of Memorial Day, Webster Soccer Tournament, Independence Day or Labor Day.

Work began in August on the westbound bridges over Salt Road, Phillips Road and Route 250. Work is expected to be complete in December.

Lane Ranger is a weekly column that runs every Saturday in the Daily Messenger exploring answers and solutions to the road problems shared by our readers. If you have questions or observations or just wish to sound off on your commute, send your comments to smccrory@messengerpostmedia.com or call 585-337-4264.