Niagara Gazette — Lewiston village business owners, especially the restauranteurs, already face competition from each other. This summer, though, some are worried they’re going to lose to the toughest competition they’ll face.
With Artpark concerts, festivals galore and normal business expectations, fears have begun to spread among them that bridge replacement work on Military Road and Interstate-190 near the New York Power Authority’s reservoir could put a damper on the fun accompanying warmer weather.
“We’re kind of quaking in our shoes about what’s going to happen this summer,” Jon DiBernardo, owner of Water Street Landing, said. “What should I be doing to prepare for this?”
DiBernardo questioned the timing of construction, which has closed the entire stretch of Military Road between Witmer and Upper Mountain roads and shifted traffic to a single lane in each direction along the interstate in the same section.
He said the state never contacted him or the village government about the project, which comes with a $41.1 million price tag.
Construction is expected to last through August 2016, with substantial completion estimated for December 2015, according to a state Department of Transportation spokesperson.
With access points to the village from towns and cities like Buffalo, Amherst and Tonawanda – some of the larger population areas in Western New York – already limited due to geography and planning, he said the construction could be devastating.
“It’s going to be our problem,” he said. “We’re at the bottom of the hill, both literally and figuratively.”
Mayor Terry Collesano said he shares DiBernardo’s concern over the impact construction could have on the vibrant community. What’s more, he said, is the issues being raised at village board meetings and in conversations with business owners like the restauranteurs could’ve been either smoothed out or put to rest if the village was included in any conversations about the construction before it started.