A section of Southwestern Boulevard (Route 20) in Hamburg that has seen a number of accidents will be improved this year, and will remain three lanes.
The state Department of Transportation has determined that it is not necessary to expand the section to five lanes, based on current and projected traffic counts for the next decade.
Work is expected to start next month on the $1.59 million project between Lakeview and Amsdell roads, according to state Assemblyman Sean M. Ryan, D-Buffalo.
"This project has been a long time in the making, but it is great to see that the final phase of this important project is moving forward," Ryan said. "I thank the residents of the Town of Hamburg for pushing for change."
Residents, particularly those living in the Villas at Brierwood on Southwestern near Pleasant Avenue, were concerned about the number of accidents and fatalities. Three people died in crashes on the road in less than four years.
A state Department of Transportation study found the segment between Pleasant Avenue and Amsdell has a higher than expected accident rate compared to similar roads. There were 136 crashes in the study area over a three-year period. Of those, 30 percent involved rear-end collisions, 22 percent involved animal collisions and 16 percent involved cars running off the road. The remaining 32 percent were due to a variety of other factors.
Ryan convened a meeting between the DOT and residents two years ago, and the state later agreed to convert the four-lane highway into two lanes plus a center turn lane. The road was re-striped from four lanes to three lanes last year.
This year's enhancements will include removing 1.5 inches of pavement and adding a new layer. The width of that section of road will be reduced, because the current turning lane is too wide, according to Ryan. Rumble strips will be installed on the sides of the road to prevent cars from passing on the right and cars going off the road, and new signs will be installed.
The daily average traffic volume on Route 20 is about 15,000 vehicles between Amsdell and Pleasant, 14,800 between Pleasant and Lakeview, and 12,600 between North Creek Road and Lakeview.
Edbauer Construction of West Seneca was the low bidder on the road improvement project.
Ryan thanked the DOT for listening to the concerns of the public.
"The new features of the safety improvement project will ensure long term safety solutions for drivers and residents in the Town of Hamburg, and all who utilize this roadway,” he said.