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Sewer project will create headaches in City of Tonawanda

The City of Tonawanda is about to address issues with sewer lines in a heavily traveled part of the community, which will create traffic problems while the work is going on.

City Engineer Jason LoMonaco gave the Common Council the news during a meeting Tuesday, during which he showed officials photos of collapsed, cracked and crumbling sewer lines on Young Street, between State Street and Cranbrook Road.

"There's not an option to fix this without digging," LoMonaco said of the roughly mile-long stretch of road. "We have to open up the road and replace it."

The first phase of the three-month project will shut down the pump station at the intersection of State and Young streets, which will shut down Young Street from Alexander Street to the north side of the Twin Cities Highway ramp for about three weeks.

Phase II will open up the intersection and shut down Young Street from State Street to the  Twin Cities ramp. The final phase will extend the detour to Cranbrook Road.

"It's a pretty busy road for us," said LoMonaco "It's going to be inconvenient and we are going to hear about it."

LoMonaco said the work is part of the 10-phase sewer project, which the city is under a state consent order to complete.

Much of the work in the $1.7 million portion of this phase of the project will be done by lining pipes and other less intrusive work, but this will be one of the most difficult parts of the project and detours will affect houses in the city's Millstream neighborhood.

City Administrative Assistant Charles Gilbert said the city is looking into the possibility of temporarily opening up a dead end portion of Luksin Drive to give residents and buses a route around the construction.

LoMonaco said an informational meeting will be held sometime in April, as soon as the state Department of Transportation approves a traffic detour plan and the city gets manholes and detour signs. Work is expected to begin in May.

He said one of his major concerns is that people will drive around the detours. He said the city will be able to allow garbage trucks and emergency vehicles to enter and be directed around the immediate construction areas, as well as residents and businesses located on the street, but others who drive down the street could find themselves in an excavated, 3-foot-wide trench.

"There's not enough room for traffic to get by and it won't reopen in the evenings or weekends. It's going to be closed," Police Capt. Frederic Foels said.

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