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Peace Bridge work to ramp up in 2014

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

Construction at the Peace Bridge is likely to start soon. The coming year is likely to see bridge authority work start on a new Customs house on the bridge plaza and on a widening of the final leg of the bridge itself, what's called the throat. That will move cars away from the truck lanes.

The State DOT is close to going out for bids on the biggest project, a series of lanes and bridges to move traffic between the bridge and the Thruway Niagara Section and close the road through Front Park.

Program Manager Maria Lehman says that is to separate traffic.
"This project's intent is to keep the interstate traffic on the interstate. We don't have a full interchange. We want to get that last leg finished by getting direct access to the I-190 Northbound from the U.S. plaza so we that do not have cars and trucks in the park, in the neighborhood, and on city streets," Lehman says.

The project went through a bilingual public hearing Wednesday night in the Connecticut Street Armory and may face a lawsuit that languages besides English and Spanish should be used for these meetings, reflecting the many languages spoken on the West Side.

If the ramps project stays to its schedule, it will get final federal and state approval in late spring and go out for construction bids in late summer with completion early in 2016 at a cost of about $28 million.

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.
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