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Highway official prices sidewalks on road where teen was killed

Installing sidewalks on one side of Krueger Road, where a 16-year-old pedestrian was killed by a hit-and-run driver last month, would cost the Town of Wheatfield about half a million dollars, Highway Superintendent Paul Siegmann has told the Town Board.

Widening the shoulders of the road would be far less expensive, although still approaching the $200,000 mark, Siegmann said. The the cost estimates were sought following the death of Ryan M. Fischer, who was struck while walking down the road with his girlfriend at about 7 p.m. Nov. 20, Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe said.

No arrest has been made in the case, and a reward of $6,000 has been posted for information leading to the driver responsible for the teenager’s death.

As in most rural towns, sidewalks are a rarity in Wheatfield.

“This board has always taken the position we don’t want sidewalks,” Cliffe said. “We’re still trying to be a small town.”

Cliffe said the area where the accident occurred is fairly well-lit, near the entrance to the parking lot of the St. Johnsburg Fire Company hall.

If the town built sidewalks, Cliffe said, more costs likely would be associated with them.

“Then you have to maintain them, or force your residents to maintain them,” he said.

Krueger is an east-west road, about 1.5 miles long, that runs between two heavily traveled roads, Ward Road and Niagara Falls Boulevard.

Siegmann said it would cost $470,000 to $570,000 to build a sidewalk on one side of Krueger Road. In order to do so, Siegmann said, the town would have to acquire about a 10-foot-wide strip of land from residents, since state regulations require 5 feet of grass between the sidewalk and the road, for plowed snow to be deposited.

Siegmann said another issue is the 12-inch sewer main buried beside the road.

“I wouldn’t put sidewalks over drain pipe that’s 30 years old,” he told the board.

Cliffe said there are paved shoulders on Krueger Road: 4 feet wide on one side, 3 feet on the other, both with fog lines painted as a boundary for the driving lanes. Widening those shoulders by 2 feet on both sides would cost $181,000, Siegmann estimated.