Traffic on Lower Main Street will return in 2021

NFTA work on DL&W Terminal cause one-year delay in traffic returning to Main

Mike Baggerman
October 22, 2019 - 3:00 am

Lower Main Street. August 27, 2018 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - If you hoped to drive your car on Lower Main Street in Buffalo, you'll have to wait another year as construction crews will yield their work while NFTA works on the DL&W Terminal in 2020.

Because of the NFTA's work, construction crews will not be able to continue working on the project until 2021, according to a city spokesman.

Groundbreaking on the latest phase of traffic restoration on Main Street, between Scott and Exchange Street, began last August. The $22.5 million project includes utility relocations and the physical replacement on infrastructure to the roads themselves.

When the project was first announced, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said construction would take anywhere from 18 months to two years to complete. Mayor Brown said work is progressing on the road and that it is a critically important job because of the 1,500 M&T jobs that are coming to Seneca One.

"It will make transportation access easier for those new employees and all of the businesses and visitors in that area of the city," Brown said. "We will continue to work aggressively to open up all of Main Street where the light rail is to vehicular traffic."

Douglas Jemal, the owner of Seneca One, said that the Main Street project needs to be a priority.

"The Skyway is not the first to come out of the batter's cage," he said prior to us learning of the delay. "It's later on. Let's open up Main Street again. Let's put the cars back on and put life back on Main Street between the Canal and the medical center. That, to me, is the most important."

When asked which project he anticipates having more of an impact on Buffalo, Brown said the Main Street project will have a profound impact on the economy and it's critically important to accomplish. However, he said the Skyway project is another example of something that can add to Buffalo's renaissance because of its international interest in the design.

Brown said that more than $120 million will be spent on all aspects of Main Street's restoration.

"We've gotten two major federal grants to support the work and have attracted state money," Brown said. "...From the public money that is being spent, we're seeing roughly a 3-to-1 return."

Federal money is key to the latest phase of the project. It will cost $18 million from the federal government to restore traffic back to Main Street plus $4.5 million from the state and the remainder from the City of Buffalo. Senator Chuck Schumer said we won't know how much money will come from the federal government until early next year.

Past phases of the projects began as far back as 2009. The 700 block of Main Street, by the West Tupper intersection, was completed in 2009 to convert Main Street into a two-way street with bicycle lanes. Construction in the 600 block of Main Street, by the West Chippewa intersection, began in 2012 and was completed two years later. The 500 block of the road, between West Chippewa and West Huron, began its construction in late-2013 and was completed two years later.

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