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TOWN HAS BRIGHT IDEA: BUILD OWN STREETLIGHTS AT COLVIN, EGGERT

It's been a long time coming, but light will soon be shining again at Colvin Boulevard and Eggert Road in the Town of Tonawanda.

For a year and a half, the intersection near the Youngmann Highway has remained dark, with not a streetlight around. Nighttime motorists, bicyclists and the occasional pedestrian at the busy intersection have been traveling by the light of the moon and whatever headlights happened by.

That's going to change when 17 new streetlights are installed.

"We're finally going to get them here, hopefully by spring," said Councilman Raymond E. Sinclair. "It's been long due in coming."

The lights were taken out last year during a road reconstruction project by the state Department of Transportation. Normally, streetlights are replaced at the conclusion of a project. This time, though, it turns out the town leased the street lights from Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. And the DOT doesn't replace streetlights owned by a private company.

"The state didn't understand we were leasing them and didn't own them," said Robert Morris of the town's Engineering Department. "The DOT didn't tell us they weren't putting the fixtures back up."

When the town realized the state wasn't going to replace the lights, town officials asked Niagara Mohawk to replace them.

"At that late stage, Niagara Mohawk said it would take a couple years," Morris said. "They said they probably couldn't get it done till the year 2000, and that was not acceptable to us."

So the town decided to construct its own streetlights, rather than sign another 15-year lease with Niagara Mohawk -- at $11,000 a year.

The Town Board Monday awarded Ferguson Electric Construction Co. of Buffalo a $98,700 contract for the work. Niagara Mohawk will still own the actual lighting fixtures and supply the electricity.

The savings from no longer paying to lease the equipment should pay for the project in about nine years, Morris said.

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