Niagara Gazette — Tires on 16 cars were punctured after a piece of concrete on the Youngmann Highway over Delaware Avenue became dislodged Thursday morning, state transportation officials said.
"There was a blowout of sorts on the westbound 290," Susan Surdej, Buffalo-area spokesperson for the Transportation Department, said. "It was a piece of material right before the bridge joint that had become dislodged."
The incident left a void on the highway, and drivers who passed over the hole hit the metal bridge joint, Surdej said. Motorists began calling Town of Tonawanda police at about 6:30 a.m., reporting that they had hit something in the road.
The problem caused traffic backup on the highway, and repair crews were immediately sent to the scene.
"The void was filled with a cold patch material," Surdej said. "A more permanent repair will be done throughout the next few days."
About 16 cars' tires were punctured. Most of the flat tires were repaired on the side of the road, but some vehicles were more seriously damaged and were towed.
The blowout was likely caused by the cold weather conditions, Surdej said.
"The extreme temperatures and the thawing wreaks havoc with the pavement and concrete and can lead to material being displaced," she said.
The material that became dislodged was located just before the bridge point, and Surdej stressed that the incident did not compromise the safety of the bridge.
"It created essentially a pothole," she said. "We had crews out there right away and had it repaired, but some cars still had a bad experience."
Drivers whose vehicles were damaged can file a claim with the state Department of Transportation by calling 847-3173.