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Rebuilding Buffalo Ave. called long-term investment; August start expected for $13.5 million project

The $13.5 million reconstruction of part of Buffalo Avenue, one of the city's most deteriorated streets but also one of the most heavily traveled, should mean it will not need any other major repairs for at least 10 years, and perhaps for as long as 20 years, a consulting engineer said Tuesday.

Frank A. DelSignore, a vice president with the engineering firm of Clough Harbour & Associates, said the reconstruction would entail digging up the entire pavement and replacing it from the ground up, not just resurfacing the existing pavement. Resurfacing, he said, sometimes lasts only for a year or two.

DelSignore said the Buffalo Avenue project would require a significant detour of some traffic during the construction but added that access to businesses and homes along Buffalo Avenue would be maintained as much as possible.

He told about 30 people at a public meeting in the LaSalle Branch Library that work is expected to start in August and to be "substantially finished" in 2012, although some final details might take until June 2013.

The work is to begin at Gill Creek, near Veterans Drive, and continue eastward to 63rd Street, near the North Grand Island Bridges. Not only is the route used by automobiles, he said, but also many heavy trucks headed to or from local industrial areas and downtown Niagara Falls, which use Buffalo Avenue because trucks are not permitted on the parallel Robert Moses Parkway.

DelSignore said the rebuilt street would have two lanes of traffic in each direction, widening to as many as five lanes at busy intersections. It also would have new curbs, sidewalks on both sides of the street, new lights and landscaping amenities.

The engineer said the road rebuilding would cost an estimated $13 million, and work on sewer and water lines while the pavement is torn up would cost an additional $400,000, making the total cost of the project about $13.5 million.

Buffalo Avenue is designated as State Route 384 but is a city street, and the city would be responsible for its maintenance and repairs after the reconstruction is finished.

Advertising for construction bids will begin soon, DelSignore said, and most of the bids probably will come from large contractors "because this is a big job."

His 20-minute presentation came just one day after Mayor Paul A. Dyster announced that municipal work crews plan to resurface all or part of at least 28 city streets during this year's construction season.

e-mail: rbaldwin@buffnews.com

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