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Removal of Breckenridge toll barrier starts today, aiming for August finish

With the demolition of the Ogden Street toll barrier complete, the Thruway Authority today shifts its attention to the remaining Buffalo toll barrier that has been retired.

Demolition of the Black Rock toll barrier, in the southbound lane and near the foot of Breckenridge Street, is scheduled to begin this morning and continue until mid-August, according to Douglas J. Tokarczyk, the authority's division construction engineer.

The Thruway will remove the tollbooths first for possible reuse, and then crews will begin taking apart the concrete and steel toll plaza.

"It'll take three weeks to demolish the right side, the side nearest [the Black Rock Channel]," Tokarczyk said.

Traffic will flow in the far left-hand lanes as this work takes place. When the right side is down, temporary lanes will be set up in that area while workers demolish the rest of the structure.

Demolition will take a little longer because of the room above the toll plaza, where toll collectors used to take their breaks. There was no such room above the Ogden Street barrier.

One structure that will remain is the toll plaza office closest to the channel.

"That's going to stay in place because there's equipment in there that helps run all the lighting on that section," Tokarczyk said.

When it's all completed, in about six weeks, the far two left-hand lanes will remain to carry the southbound traffic. There will also be a breakdown lane and concrete barriers along the side of the road.

Work at the Ogden Street site is pretty much complete, Tokarczyk said.

"If you look at the road, there's no evidence of the plaza," he said. "There are cones and barrels out because we have to adjust our pavement striping. That probably won't be completed until after next week."

There will be one more minor adjustment at Ogden Street. One of the two breaks in the guardrails, used by state troopers to make U-turns, will be filled in "so we'll have some lane closings and orange cones in July to do that work," Tokarczyk said.

Under pressure from area business officials and politicians, the Thruway Authority announced in October that it would no longer be charging tolls to traffic traveling through Buffalo on the Niagara Thruway.

e-mail: jbonfatti@buffnews.com

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