The state Department of Transportation has delayed restriping and other work on the Scajaquada Expressway for about three weeks because of engineering problems that have cropped up at the last minute, State Assemblyman Sean M. Ryan said Tuesday, but he promised to push to get the work underway as quickly as possible.
Prompted by a public outcry after a car careened off the expressway in May, striking and killing a 3-year-old boy and critically injuring his 5-year-old sister on the nearby Ring Road in Delaware Park, authorities decided to change the Scajaquada from a four-lane, high-speed urban expressway to a two-lane, 30-mile-an-hour parkway with enhanced safety features.
The redesigned roadway also would have traffic signals and secure pedestrian cross ings.
At the time, Ryan said: “The debate is over. …The days of maintaining a highway through Delaware Park are over.”
Temporary safety barriers were set up and the speed limit was reduced to 30 miles an hour instead of the previous 55 almost immediately after the accident that took the life of little Maksym Sugorovskiy and injured his sister, Stephanie.
The exact cause of the accident has never been pinpointed, but the driver of the car that struck the children and their mother as they walked in the park said he fell asleep and lost control of the car while he was driving.
Ryan did not describe the nature of the last-minute engineering problems that have delayed the beginning of work on changing the Scajaquada from an expressway to a parkway, but he said he would work with state officials to get the project moving.
Meanwhile, the temporary safety barriers and the emergency posting of the 30-mph speed limit will remain in place.
Ryan, whose 149th District covers north and west Buffalo and parts of Lackawanna, bemoaned the impending roadwork delay as he joined other officials Tuesday morning in celebrating the opening of a bike trail on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor.