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Robert Moses Parkway reconfiguration begins

Chris Caya/WBFO News

A project meant to restore public access to the Niagara Falls waterfront is now a reality. State and local officials kicked off the removal of a one-mile stretch of the Robert Moses Parkway Wednesday.

The $18 million project includes replacing the expressway with a pedestrian-friendly park road between John B. Daly Boulevard and downtown Niagara Falls.

Plans also include a walking path and nature areas. Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy called the project a "great investment."

"I love the water. To sit here and see this and have it opened up, hopefully in a year-and-a-half it will be done, it'll be a beautiful thing," Duffy said.

Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster says some people assumed the project would never get done.

"Getting this project done is going to be tremendous, not just in a practical sense for the City of Niagara Falls, but [also] psychologically," Dyster said.

The work prompted nearby resident Faisal Merani to change his plans for redeveloping a long-vacant hotel along the parkway.  

"I just called my architect yesterday to increase the size of my patio so all my guests can take advantage of this new view that we're going to get," he said.

The new "Riverway" in Niagara Falls is expected to be completed in 2016.