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DOT urges town to OK 7 Corners project

The realignment of the Seven Corners in Hamburg might not be a done deal after all.

Darryl Kaminski, the regional engineer for the State Department of Transportation, spent more than an hour Monday trying to convince the Hamburg Town Board that the project would improve safety by reducing congestion.

Afterward, he said if the town remains opposed, the realignment into a regular four-corner intersection might not take place.

He said he hopes board members will change their minds -- but they all sounded adamant Monday as they discussed the matter with three DOT engineers during a work session.

"It would be a shame" not to do the intersection now as part of a $13.8 million improvement project for Southwestern Boulevard, Kaminski said. Continued development might make it too expensive to acquire the necessary property in the future, he said.

The Town Board, which initially supported the project, recently changed its mind and said improvements already made to the intersection have helped. Realigning Big Tree Road so that it would meet Southwestern in two new intersections east and west of the present six-legged intersection will only cause more problems and the potential for accidents, board members said.

Kaminski said the DOT has studied the situation and concluded the congestion is going to increase by about 1 percent a year and lessening the congestion and potential "conflict points" will increase safety.

Councilwoman Kathleen Hochul said adding two intersections "is creating a recipe for road rage."

Councilwoman Joan Kesner said "it's only common sense" that it will create problems and since the board is "the eyes and ears of the community, you should hear what we have to say."

DOT hopes to begin final engineering work soon and begin construction in the summer of 2007 and complete the project by fall 2008.

e-mail: ternst@buffnews.com

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