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Kensington detours to start Part of expressway to be closed for construction

A section of the Kensington Expressway will be shut down late today and early Saturday for construction work, forcing drivers to find alternative routes to and from downtown Buffalo.

State Department of Transportation crews will set the steel beams that support a pedestrian bridge, and the work requires that all traffic lanes be temporarily closed, said Susan Surdej, a DOT spokeswoman.

It's the latest in a series of construction projects on busy commuter routes that are frustrating drivers with lane restrictions, ramp closures and rush-hour traffic jams.

This closing affects the Kensington Expressway in both directions and a ramp from the Scajaquada Expressway to the Kensington, the DOT said.

This section of the Kensington carries a daily average of 96,000 vehicles, Surdej said.

The eastbound Kensington will be closed to traffic from 6 p.m. today to 2 p.m. Saturday from Northampton Street to the Scajaquada Expressway.

Eastbound traffic will exit at Northampton and follow the posted detour on Humboldt Parkway, which will divert traffic back onto the Kensington, and provide access to the westbound Scajaquada, at East Delavan Avenue.

The westbound Kensington will be closed from the Scajaquada Expressway to East Utica Street from 8 p.m. today to 2 p.m. Saturday. Traffic will be detoured to the Scajaquada, Main Street, Humboldt and East Utica.

The ramp connecting the eastbound Scajaquada to the westbound Kensington will be closed from 8 p.m. today to 2 p.m. Saturday. Traffic will exit the Scajaquada at Main Street and follow the detour to Humboldt before re-entering the westbound Kensington at East Utica Street.

This construction project comes as commuters still are grappling with lane closures on the eastbound and westbound Kensington, near Grider Street, that have snarled rush-hour traffic.

The Buffalo News has printed two letters to the editor in the past week questioning why so many road repair projects are starting in September, instead of during the summer when traffic is lighter.

Surdej said work on the expressways took place throughout the summer months.

"I understand. I'm a commuter on the 33," he said. "It's not like we delayed the work until school resumed."

In the case of the Grider-area lane closures, crews are installing overhead sign structures, work that involves the pouring and curing of concrete.

For that reason, the closed lanes can't temporarily be reopened during rush hour, Surdej said, though the department hopes this work will be finished by next weekend.

e-mail: swatson@buffnews.com

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