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The $7.1 million reconstruction of the Colvin Avenue and Youngmann Highway interchange in the Town of Tonawanda entered its second phase this week with the closing of the expressway's westbound entrance ramp and eastbound exit ramp.

At the same time, road crews reopened the westbound off-ramp from the Youngmann and eastbound on-ramp from Colvin.

The latest, and final, round of construction is to be completed by late September. Until then, drivers wanting to enter the westbound Youngmann are required to detour to the Niagara Falls Boulevard interchange.

Complicating matters through next week will be maintenance work on the eastbound expressway bridge over Niagara Falls Boulevard. That job is reducing traffic on the overpass to one lane from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., said William R. Casseday, state Department of Transportation regional construction engineer.

The DOT is using its "A&B" bidding incentive to speed the interchange project. The approach rewards contractors who finish ahead of schedule and imposes daily fines when they miss their deadlines. Concrete Applied Technology Corp. of Lancaster is the contractor.

Casseday said the new interchange roads are being built to new standards that are intended to increase their service duration to 50 years. Previous standards were for 25 years.

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