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Barrier-razing deal OK'd for Breckenridge, Ogden

The dormant Ogden Street and Breckenridge toll barriers along the Niagara Thruway will be gone by the end of September.

And an Elma company will have the honor of removing them from the local landscape.

Oakgrove Construction submitted the low bid to demolish the toll barrier structures, which have sat idle since Oct. 30, when toll collections were discontinued. While the $857,968 bid still requires approval of the state comptroller, the company has begun planning the removal. "We're pleased to have this in the works," said Thruway Authority spokeswoman Betsy Graham, who said the project will begin within 10 days of approval by the comptroller.

The project is "more complicated than just pulling out the structures" and will take eight to 10 weeks to complete, Oakgrove Vice President Vincent Barbera said. The key complicating factor is that the booths and related buildings stretch across the Niagara Thruway and traffic must keep flowing, he said.

"There will be some slowdowns, but we want to maintain two functioning lanes while we're working," Barbera said. "If we need to go down to one lane, we'll do that during off-peak hours."

Each toll plaza will be removed in a two-phase process to facilitate traffic flow. A protective concrete barrier will close off the work area from active traffic lanes in each phase.

At the Ogden Street site, the ramp joining from the Mainline Thruway will be slightly realigned, using the extra booth space to make for a better transition. It's expected the extra lane of space at the Breckenridge site will be cordoned off with no designated function.

The Thruway Authority has set a Sept. 28 deadline for the work to be done, but Barbera said it may be over sooner.

The unsuccessful bidders for the demolition project were also local companies. They were: UCC Contractors of West Seneca, with a bid of $1.06 million; Nichols Long and Moore of Lancaster, $1.1 million; and Keleman-Bauer Construction of Blasdell, $1.2 million.

Oakgrove has extensive experience with highway projects, including the $62 million "fourth lane" project that expanded the Mainline Thruway between the Niagara Thruway and the 400 Expressway.

e-mail: slinstedt@buffnews.com

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