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Dispute arises over delay in road work

City officials and a West Seneca contractor are in disagreement over delays in the Lewiston Road reconstruction project, which was scheduled to be completed this season.

Mayor Paul A. Dyster said Friday that completion of the Route 104 project between Bath Avenue and the northern city line is "very unlikely" this season. He said the city was "looking at other options" for completing the project.

Dave Pfeiffer, owner of Man O'Trees in West Seneca, said the project has been delayed because the city has not paid him since February. He said his crews have also found six times the amount of radioactive material beneath the road, which they were hired, in part, to remove.

Assistant Corporation Counsel Thomas O'Donnell said he did not know whether Pfeiffer's company had been paid since February, adding that the city was in negotiations late Friday with John P. Bartolomei, Pfeiffer's lawyer.

Preiffer said he had not devoted a full crew to the project because of the financial dispute and estimated the project was a quarter completed. He also said his crews have found 3,000 yards of radioactive material. Originally, they were expected to remove 500 yards.

O'Donnell said the two main radioactive hot spots with most of the material were on Bath Street and Findlay Drive, two areas he said were not originally tested to a large extent.

"It's not a major concern," O'Donnell said. "We believe that based on the testing, the rest of the street will be along the lines of what we expected."

The project has been delayed for years for various reasons, including the need for radiological testing on the street, a license the contractor needed to maintain to handle the material and negotiations with CSX Corp.

City officials said three-quarters of the southbound lane from Bath to College was nearly complete at this point, and Dyster said the city wants that entire section to be fully paved this season.

e-mail: cspecht@buffnews.com

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