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East Robinson Road in Amherst will be widened

A well-traveled, one-mile stretch of road in the northwest corner of Amherst is getting ready for a major makeover.

East Robinson and North French roads, between Niagara Falls Boulevard and Sweet Home Road, will undergo a $9.4 million reconstruction that includes widening the road from two lanes to five.

The project has been in the pipeline since the late 1990s, as the volume of traffic has steadily exceeded the capacity of the county-owned road, officials said Tuesday.

“The road is really a rural road, but there’s been development in that area,” said John Loffredo, Erie County’s commissioner of public works. “It’s designed for traffic quite a bit less than what it has.”

Drainage and prep work began this spring, but County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, on Tuesday offered motorists a preview of the project, which should help alleviate traffic congestion along this popular corridor.

The 1.2-mile stretch is one of the busier county roads in Amherst, with about 16,200 vehicles traveling on it each day, according to Loffredo. It serves as an arterial that connects travelers from Niagara Falls Boulevard to the I-990 and Niagara County.

The project will add two travel lanes, as well as a two-way center turn lane, Loffredo explained.

Concrete curbs, gutters and sidewalks will be added. Intersection improvements also will be made. A .4-mile section of Sweet Home also will be reconstructed during the project.

The speed limit along this stretch will remain 40 mph, officials said.

Federal highway funds will pay for 80 percent of the project, while 15 percent will come from the state and 5 percent from the county, officials said.

A majority of the work won’t happen until next spring, Loffredo said. Completion is slated for the following winter.

“Thanks to this project, Amherst residents and all who use East Robinson and North French roads will now be able to travel on a highway that has increased capacity and safety enhancements,” Poloncarz said.