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TEMPORARY ACCORD ON A NEW BRIDGE

Amid all the divisions and debates surrounding the Niagara Frontier's efforts to build a new international bridge, it's encouraging to note across-the-board agreement on at least one issue -- even if it is about the need for more delay.

The two month review-period extension all sides consider necessary still needs the approval of State Supreme Court Justice Eugene M. Fahey, who has set a Jan. 26 deadline for his ruling on a related lawsuit. Much as it pains us as journalists to say this, it's a deadline that should be missed.

Fahey should be flexible on his timetables and heed the pleas to allow more time for Canadian engineering experts, who got a late start on their review, to catch up to the American firms already at work on an analysis of competing bridge proposals. Those pleas, by the City of Buffalo and the Peace Bridge Authority, are supported by Public Consensus Review Panel members as well as lawyers for the Olmsted Parks Conservancy and a church home in the bridge construction area.

The judge's intent in setting the deadline in the first place was to spur bridge adversaries to settle the lawsuit on their own. The review process offers the best possible chance to do that, and it should get the time it needs to do the job right.

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