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Work to give streets on Medical Campus a smoother ride

Some Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus streets well known for their potholes, rippling and deteriorated surfaces have been fixed in the first of a two-phase $500,000 project.

Extensive milling and resurfacing work totaling $150,000 was completed during the last week on some of the most problematic areas. Another $350,000 of road work is planned for a second batch of campus streets that the city hopes could be done before winter.

"We wanted to address the areas according to the needs of the campus, the most urgent being those that would affect their operations the most," said Buffalo Public Works Commissioner Steven J. Stepniak. "That is what we started to mill and overlay on Saturday."

Milling began last Friday on Carlton Street between Michigan Avenue and Ellicott Street; on Michigan between Carlton and High Street; and on High from Michigan to Ellicott. Resurfacing was completed over the weekend.

"It's not everything we needed to do, but we jumped to do phase one," City Engineer Michael J. Finn said Tuesday after the first phase of work concluded.

Two-way traffic flow was maintained through the affected areas, although there were lane restrictions.

The section of Main Street between High and Allen streets, which has endured the brunt of work during the construction of University at Buffalo's new medical school and John R. Oishei Children's Hospital, also got some temporary repairs this week. The city is planning a larger, $10 million overhaul of Main Street in the next few years. That would not happen before 2019 at the earliest, Finn said.

Finn said the contractors "milled out the worst of the worst to hold us for two to three years to get us in a safe and more comfortable position." The larger Main Street overhaul is envisioned to stretch from the medical corridor to potentially as far as Canisius College.

Both the new home of UB's Jacob School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the new Children's Hospital open later this fall.

"All the construction out there really beat that up. That's part of why we are focusing on the Medical Campus area now because a lot of construction is starting to wind down," Finn said.

The work done in recent days, except for on Main Street, is considered "a full mill and a resurface, a capital investment," Finn said.

The second phase of work is considered significant. "The campus streets sustain a lot of traffic, including trucks. They were pretty bad," Stepniak said.

City officials say they still hope it can be done before winter, but acknowledge that may not happen because of outstanding contractor schedules on other jobs.

In all, $350,000 of milling and repaving is planned for Michigan between Carlton and Goodell; Carlton from Ellicott to Main; and Elm from Virginia to Carlton.

"We are improving the drive ability so that peoples' quality of life is better and they are not hitting potholes every day," Finn said.

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