SALAMANCA - In addition to concrete, steel and manpower used to construct the new bridge in the west end of the city, a sense of teamwork was necessary to complete the project.
That was the overall message Thursday during a ceremony which dedicated the structure, formerly known as the Center Street Bridge, as the Chief Cornplanter Memorial Bridge. The bridge carries Center Street and Route 353 over the Allegheny River.
When the bridge opened in August, it marked the first time in four years two-way traffic could commute over the river at that location. The old structure, built in 1939, had closed to one-lane in 2007, closed completely in 2008 and reopened in 2009 to single-lane traffic again. It was demolished in May 2010 to begin the $10.8 million project that culminated with the new bridge's completion.
"The road to this day has been kind of a long one," said Darrell Kaminski, acting Region 5 director for the state's department of transportation. "We had many starts and stops over the years ... I really want to thank the community for their patience through all this. Now we have a beautiful bridge that can serve the community for many generations to come."
The bridge was named in honor of Chief Cornplanter, an instrumental Seneca leader during the American Revolution and for decades following. Seneca Nation President Robert Odawi Porter illustrated Cornplanter as a man of peace among many groups of people.
"It is a fitting name for this bridge because Cornplanter himself was something of a human bridge between the Seneca and Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) people as well as the colonists who were living at that time," Porter said.
Porter described the bridge as part of the "Seneca Turnpike," an essential route connecting the Allegany Territory in Salamanca with the Cattaraugus Territory in Irving. He said the bridge exemplifies teamwork between all parties involved in the construction.
* This is a partial story. The full story will be in the Nov. 17 edition of The Salamanca Press and online in the e-edition. *