Tonawanda News — Two projects totaling nearly $2 million were approved by the North Tonawanda Common Council Tuesday with work for both expected to begin in September.
After years of debate and behind-the-scenes work to move the expansion of Meadow Drive forward, the council approved a bid for more than $1.4 million, largely offset by federal funding, that officials say will ease traffic congestion along Erie Avenue.
Another $406,000 green infrastructure project along Webster Street is also projected to begin by September. The scope of that work entails installing “rain gardens” along Webster Street between Sweeney and Goundry streets to alleviate pollution runoff that flows into the Erie Canal by filtering it out through a tiered garden system. That project was funded with a $575,000 state grant.
City Engineer Dale Marshall said both projects should be wrapped up by mid-November, just before the chance of inclement weather encroaches on the region.
The Meadow Drive expansion is of particular relief to city officials who spent years navigating through a variety of hurdles that involved obtaining wetland approval from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, securing easements through railway land owned by CSX, purchasing slivers of property owned by private residents and formulating a scaled-down version of the project after initial costs began to skyrocket.
The project was rebid after it was already approved in early July and was raised by roughly $50,000 to align with federal prevailing wages, with 80 percent of the project’s funding coming from federal grants. The city plans to contribute roughly $90,000 to the project, though current estimates show $300,000 left over in grant funding.
Marshall said the green infrastructure project was held off until the fall to avoid causing disruptions downtown during the busy summer season.
“But we’re trying to give it as early a start as we could,” he said.