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Just in time for the start of the holiday shopping season, construction crews have wrapped up their work along Walden Avenue near Walden Galleria in Cheektowaga.

The $13 million effort to reconstruct the heavily traveled section of Walden Avenue, between the Thruway and Union Road, saw a ribbon-cutting Tuesday, marking an end to lengthy delays and closed lanes.

The project, which included installation of new concrete pavement and a new stamped concrete median, is aimed as enhancing safety for motorists and pedestrians alike, according to Alan E. Taylor, acting regional director for the state Department of Transportation.

"We appreciate the patience and cooperation area business patrons and owners have shown as our forces continue to press forward with these important improvements," Taylor said.

The two-phase project, which has a $27 million price tag, attracted attention at its onset because of a tight time frame, which added $2.2 million to the cost.

The state paid a premium for round-the-clock work to ensure that the roadway would be fully open by the start of the Christmas shopping season.

Jim Soos, general manager of the Galleria, said traffic has been flowing smoothly along the key section of Walden since the bulk of the work wrapped up last month.

"It's great to have it back, and it's certainly convenient for our shoppers who travel the Thruway to get here," Soos said.

"Now it would be nice to get Union Road all the way open. To travel is easier from that direction."

The 2005 construction season will see a total reconstruction of Union Road, from Como Park Boulevard to George Urban Boulevard.

Catco Construction of Alden is the contractor for the two-part project.


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