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Curb work heralds start of $2.5 million streets project in Lackawanna

Traffic cones and lane restrictions are in place near some intersections along South Park Avenue in Lackawanna, where new curb ramps are being installed as part of a $2.5 million streets project to be completed in September.

A state grant secured by State Sen. Timothy M. Kennedy, D-Buffalo, is paying for the work, which includes curb cuts to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as repaving the two miles of South Park – from Blasdell to the Buffalo border – and a mile-long stretch of Ridge Road, from South Park to Abbott Road.

Construction will radiate from that intersection in the northern part of Lackawanna, which Kennedy characterized Tuesday morning as the “epicenter” of the city and perhaps the region. The senator noted two of the region’s cultural assets nearby: Our Lady of Victory Basilica, and the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens. “Our goal is to leverage private sector development,” Kennedy said at a news conference Tuesday morning in front of the botanical gardens. Safety also is a factor, officials said. More than 11,000 motorists travel South Park Avenue daily, and the volume is even higher along Ridge Road.

“South Park is the gateway to the Southtowns,” said Lackawanna Mayor Geoff Szymanski. “We are sitting on two of the greatest assets of Erie County,” he added, also referencing the botanical gardens and basilica.

Not so great is the condition of South Park Avenue, the mayor acknowledged.

“Everyone who travels this road knows how bad it is, especially during wintertime,” Szymanski said.

Work on road surfaces will begin after the curbs and sidewalks are finished; curb work is being done on South Park Avenue, between Ridge Road and the Blasdell border. The roads will be milled, then approximately 5 inches of new surface applied.

Resurfacing South Park will be completed before work begins on Ridge, said Pat Donlon, the city’s resident engineer.

Traffic will continue to flow during construction. “Everything will be up and running – two lanes of traffic,” Donlon said. “Traffic control is a major component of the project.”

Completion is expected by Sept. 27.

“This is a very, very great day for our city ... for the business community, as well,” said the Rev. Mark Blue, president of the Lackawanna Chamber of Commerce. “For a long time, these roads have been in disrepair.”