If you regularly drive along Colvin Boulevard in the Town of Tonawanda, you've probably noticed that it's easier to get through a busy intersection.
In a project that's entering its final stages, Colvin Boulevard was widened by 12 feet on its east side to accommodate left turning lanes at the intersection of Highland Parkway, which is a mini hub of retail businesses and a much-traveled passage to Kenmore West High School.
"We improved the traffic movement there," said Charles A. Sickler, director of engineering for the Erie County Department of Public Works, Highway Division. Both streets are owned by the county, and are known as Routes 118 (Colvin) and 129 (Highland).
There are two gas stations on the east side of Colvin, but neither property lost footage to the project. "All the work ... was within the county highway right-of-way," Sickler said.
"We thought it would be less disruptive to move to the one side," Sickler said. Splitting the 12 feet between the two sides would have increased the project's cost and caused more disruptions to both, he said.
"I think people are going to really like it," Sickler said.
Construction posed an inconvenience earlier this summer for customers of Dash's Market, at the southwest corner of the intersection, according to Mark Mahoney, director of operations for the local chain of gourmet and specialty food stores.
"The benefit of it is worth the project," Mahoney said. "I think it's really going to help the whole area."
The $650,000 project was funded by the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program. It's part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, which has an increased focus on environmental programs.
Traffic and air quality analyses and computer modeling were required to demonstrate that CMAQ funding was justified. In this case, it showed the project "will reduce your idling times and emissions," Sickler said.
Erie County awarded the contract to Concrete Applied Technologies (CATCO) of Alden, which began work May 21 and is expected to address remaining issues – including installing permanent, thermal plastic striping – well ahead of the Oct. 26 completion date.
"We're 95 percent complete," Sickler said last week.
The project also included new traffic signals and pedestrian crossings, milling and repaving, and drainage improvements.
Earlier this month, the Tonawanda Town Board approved amendments to the town's vehicle and traffic law, extending the distances in which on-street parking is prohibited or restricted on both streets.?