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Buffalo beat heavy odds to secure money for cars-to-Main Street program

Buffalo beat heavy odds to win a $18 million federal transportation grant to restore car traffic to another stretch of Main Street, but there’s still $80 million worth of work yet to be done on the rest of the 1.25-mile stretch of downtown road, Buffalo Place officials said Wednesday.

The federal Department of Transportation received 625 applications totaling $9 billion for the TIGER grant program, putting the odds of Buffalo winning the money at 20-to-1, said Buffalo Place manager of planning Debra Chernoff. The city had pared down its request after failing to get the grant last year, she added.

The latest funds will go toward the section from Scott to Exchange streets in downtown Buffalo, adding to what’s been done further up in the 500, 600 and 700 blocks of Main from Goodell Street south to Mohawk Street. The 500 block and Fountain Plaza area should be reopening to cars shortly. The area from Mohawk to Exchange remains untouched.

Meanwhile, workers continue to install signal pole foundations and conduits along Pearl Street, which will be converted back to two-way traffic, and the bulk of the work on Genesee Street will begin in the spring. “We’re looking forward to working with the city in helping to assist with the effort,” Chernoff said.