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Work on 600 block of Main Street to begin in the fall

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WBFO News photo by Mike Desmond
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Construction to put cars back on the 600 block of Main Street between Tupper and Chippewa will start in September.

Mayor Byron Brown says construction bids came in below budget at just over $6 million. The work will take about a year.

Construction will add one-traffic lane in each direction and dozens of parking spaces. The Theater Station rail stop will be removed. The road will integrate Metro Rail cars and automobiles.

"The 600 block of Main Street is actually the first block where the rail is elevated, where cars will actually share the road with the rail," said Brown.

"There's an infrastructure here that needs some replacing. It's not just about cars on Main Street. It's updating the infrastructure that's out here. The 600 block happens to be the most complicated section...because it's the first area where we have that conversion of cars with the rail," said Public Works Commissioner Steve Stepniak. "It's a very technical process."

Brown says re-opening the block to cars will encourage shoppers to a developing downtown.

"We will see a more aggressive investment of retail in downtown Buffalo," said Brown. "When the light rail rapid transit was installed in the early '80s, it essentially was the death knell of retail in downtown Buffalo."

A video animation of the envisioned project can be seen here.

Mayor Brown says a year from September, construction will shift south to the section of Main between Chippewa and Mohawk in a more involved and expensive project.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.