It’s official! Interstate 86, the Southern Tier Expressway, between Exits 20 and 23 on the Allegany Territory of the Seneca Nation in Cattaraugus County is now open. Interstate 86 had been closed to traffic since early May as part of a $21 million reconstruction project.

The Interstate 86 improvement project included the major rehabilitation of approximately seven miles of road surface between Exit 20 and three miles west of Exit 23, and minor rehabilitation of eight highway bridges. The eastbound ramps from Interstate 86 to Exit 20 were reconstructed and realigned to provide more land for development, and the westbound ramps at Exit 20 and the ramps at Exit 21 were rehabilitated. In addition, enhanced snow fencing, new traffic signs, drainage and new guide rail were installed on Interstate 86.

State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald said, “This project has restored the ride-ability of the pavement and structural integrity of the bridges on the Sothern Tier Expressway, while providing a safer and more comfortable riding surface for its users.”

Interstate 86 was closed in both directions to facilitate highway and bridge reconstruction due to the physical constraints of the site and the proximity to the Allegheny River. Traffic was detoured on NY Route 417 but has now returned to Interstate 86.

The project was one of several construction projects designed to improve the Interstate 86 corridor that has been completed over the last several years.