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Demler irate over fees to paint overpass

WHEATFIELD -- Engineering fees for the project to paint the railroad overpass on Niagara Falls Boulevard drew the ire of Supervisor Timothy E. Demler on Monday.

So much, in fact, that Demler persuaded the Town Board to put off the project until next month so it has time to plan the next move.

Timothy Walck, the town engineer from Wendel Duchscherer Architects and Engineers, told the board that another $18,000 was needed to prepare specifications for the containment of lead paint on the overpass and traffic control during the work and to examine the possibility of asbestos on the structure.

Painting the overpass, between Old Falls Boulevard and Cayuga Drive Extension, was estimated at a little less than $200,000. After the project was approved by the board in August, Demler and Town Attorney Robert O'Toole persuaded CSX Corp. to reimburse the town for all expenses. The supervisor said it was the only span out of 1,600 owned by CSX in the state that the company agreed to paint this year.

Although he said he is sure the town can collect the fees from CSX, Demler said the unexpected cost increase was typical of government bureaucracy.

"This is the problem with government," Demler said during the discussion. "By the time we're done, it will cost $400,000. This is exactly what happens when government gets involved.

"I don't think we should pay $18,000 for specs for a bloody bridge," he said. "We don't need to spend $18,000 to tell us how to paint a bridge."

Demler asked the board to bid out the engineering work, but the board failed to act on his suggestion. Instead, the board is expected to address the issue again at the Nov. 10 meeting.

Meanwhile, Walck said he is working with CSX to agree on the type and amount of paint. Once completed, the bridge will show a logo or saying to welcome drivers to Wheatfield.

In another action, the board withdrew its plans to create a drainage and stormwater budget line for next year and pay for the work with surplus funds.

e-mail: niagaranews@buffnews.com

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