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Delayed Falls road project can restart, judge says

NIAGARA FALLS - A road reconstruction project plagued by disputes and delays can begin again, a state judge ruled Friday.
The Lewiston Road reconstruction project is expected to resume after State Supreme Court Justice Frank Caruso ruled in favor of the city and against the contractor who was originally awarded the job.
That means the city will attempt to award the project to a new contractor Monday, when the City Council meets at 7 p.m. in City Hall.
The city has been locked in a dispute with West Seneca contractor Man O'Trees and its owner, David Pfeiffer, over issues relating to project costs and the discovery of radioactive material beneath the road.
Pfeiffer filed a suit this month against the city, the mayor, the city administrator, the city engineer and the members of the Council, charging breach of contract and defamation.
Earlier this week, Pfeiffer's lawyer, John P. Bartolomei, said the city devised a "scheme" to disguise a radioactive remediation project as a road project. He sought a temporary injunction against the city that would prevent it from awarding the contract to a new bidder.
The city rejected that notion, portraying the dispute as a monetary problem having no impact on public safety. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has said the radioactive levels beneath the road do not pose a serious public health threat.
Caruso's ruling allows the city to award the contract to a new bidder, Accadia Site Contracting of Depew, which was the lowest of six bidders at a price of $4.3 million. The Council is expected to pass the measure at its meeting Monday.
Mayor Paul A. Dyster said the measure would allow Accadia to begin work "as soon as possible" and give residents a "momentum boost" before the winter season stops construction. Accadia has said it could complete the project sometime next summer, Dyster said.