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Drivers making a mess of work zone

Motorists ignoring traffic signs in the construction zone of the Parker-Fries sewer-replacement project is the most frequent complaint of Town of Tonawanda residents living in those neighborhoods.

Several gave examples of what they witness on a regular basis at a meeting Wednesday night in Kenmore East High School, where an update was given on the $30 million, two-year project that began last summer.

"No one is paying attention to signs," said Steve Lindke of Lynbrook Avenue, where motorists stray because the intersection of Parker Boulevard and Koenig Circle is closed. Parker is one of the few north-south thoroughfares that pass beneath the Youngmann Highway.

Lindke said he has seen motorists speeding and not stopping at stop signs.

"It's usually people who don't live around here who are trying to use the cut-through," he said.

The Parker-Koenig intersection closed in December and is expected to remain closed until June. Residents who live south of the highway overpass have to follow a circuitous route to get to their driveways, passing a sign that indicates the road is closed.

When motorists unfamiliar with the area realize they can't drive north on Parker, they must turn around.

Everybody comes and turns around in our driveway," said a Parker Boulevard resident who identified herself only as Debbie. "The mud in my driveway is unbelievable."

The Parker-Fries project is the first phase of a proposed multidecade overhaul of the sanitary sewer system townwide. In work that's expected to last until the summer of 2012, crews will replace 11,000 linear feet of an old sewer line that has gotten the town in hot water with the state Department of Environmental Conservation because the flow sometimes ends up in storm sewers and, eventually, nearby waterways.

The construction zone stretches from the Parker pump station, just north of Youngmann Memorial Highway, to an area just south of Sheridan Drive.

During the next three months, crews will continue working southward along Parker to Glenalby Road, to install a 72-inch diameter pipe.

e-mail: jhabuda@buffneww.com

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