BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — After five years of planning, a total reconstruction of Allen Street between Main Street and Delaware Avenue is getting underway in the City of Buffalo.
The project is expected to last two years and is costing $5 million.
The goal is to widen the street, install new sidewalks and underground utilities (water line), while improving the aesthetics of the street with more trees and pedestrian friendly features.
But the project also shows how complicated a major infrastructure reconstruction can be.
Mike Finn, acting Commissioner of Buffalo Public Works, explained that large infrastructure projects often have to be broken up into chunks in order to get done.
Planning can require a considerable amount of time as issues are worked out with the community.
That was the case with the Allen Street project that some felt would begin two years ago, said Andrew Eisenhardt, Executive Director of the Allentown Association.
"I told people and guaranteed them that we would start two years ago. Then I guaranteed that we were going to start last year, but we took extra time to make sure we got it right," said Eisenhardt.
The other big factor is funding, explained Mike Finn, who said it can take 5 to 10 years to finalize federal funding for a project from conception.
Phase Two of the Allen Street reconstruction, for the portion from Delaware to Wadsworth, has been designed but not yet funded.
"We are actively seeking funding for Phase Two in the next 5-year funding cycle," added Mike Finn.
Having the design work complete makes it more competitive when finding funding, explained Finn.
Other large infrastructure projects in Buffalo have also been done one piece at a time - such as Niagara Street and the ongoing project to allow cars to share Main Street with the above ground NFTA Metro rail.
7 Eyewitness News reporter Ed Reilly has more in the attached report.