Main Street Road Project to Continue in July

$22.5 million project to restore traffic between Scott and Exchange

Mike Baggerman
June 14, 2018 - 3:55 pm

Construction on Main Street between Scott and Exchange (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - The next phase of construction will begin in July to restore traffic onto Main Street.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown announced on Thursday that construction will begin on Lower Main Street, between Exchange and Scott Streetsm in the coming weeks and is expected to be finished in 2020. Currently, Lower Main Street only has access using the NFTA Metro Rail and the project would return traffic to one of Buffalo's most popular spots.

"It will be $22.5 million of investment on the Lower Main Street portion of Main," Mayor Brown said. "We have worked for a number of years since I came into office to open up Main Street to vehicular traffic, to open up more economic opportunities for residents of our city and  our region. It has worked."

The city has worked to restore traffic to a ten-block stretch of Main Street for the last several years. In 2009, the 700 block of Main Street was converted to include two-way traffic and bicycle lanes at a cost of $2.8 million. Other areas that saw construction were the 600 block of Main Street (late 2012, $8 million) and the 500 block (fall 2013, $21 million).

This project was paid for largely from federal funding via TIGER grant. Approximately $18 million for this project came from the federal grant while the remainder came from New York State.

Construction crews actually began working on the area today to dig up and locate utilities in advance of relocation. Then, the train infrastructure will be replaced to make room for car traffic. 

The train stations will remain the way they were because they were rehabilitated within the last five years by the NFTA. However, the overhang sections at the stations will be demolished to open the area up. 

"They will be partially demolished to reduce how large they are similarly to what has been done on other ones," Buffalo City Engineer Mike Finn said. "Some of the complaints NFTA received about the stations upstream here is that they are so big and take up space and block the view. We're going to reduce the amount of overall infrastructure but generally keep them in the same location."

This project is so much more expensive than the other ones because of utility integration and integration with the train system. Trains will run during the construction work, though any interruptions will only occur during the overnight hours. 

"We think that's very important," Finn added. "We don't want to shut down the Canalside area."

Mayor Brown said the previous $54 million transit area was a mistake made in the 1980's.

"We believe that decision needed to be undone," Brown said. 

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