By Justin Sondel email@example.com
Niagara Gazette — A much-debated and long-awaited traffic signal in front of the Como Restaurant on Pine Avenue may finally be fully operational in a matter of weeks.
Signal poles, wires and the lights themselves were installed several weeks ago, but the system has yet to come online.
The reason, according to Mayor Paul Dyster, is a lack of available asphalt that will be needed to patch the section of Pine Avenue where electrical wires needed to power the light will be installed.
South Buffalo Electric, Inc., the company that won the bid on the project, will begin work the last week of May, Dyster said.
“They are finishing another job but they are going to do the light as soon as they are done,” Dyster said.
The contractor will need to dig a trench across Pine Avenue to access the electrical wiring needed to power the light.
“That’s going to happen very soon,” Dyster said.
The poles were installed last fall. The lights hang from overhead wires and are currently wrapped in black plastic.
In December, city lawmakers decided to hold the project until spring at the recommendation of former City Engineer Jeffrey Skurka who wanted to wait for local asphalt plants to reopen to avoid using cold patch asphalt, which he said would have likely crumbled.
The plants are open, but it will still be a few weeks before and the light is hooked up to the grid, Dyster said.
Council members requested the light after being approached by area business owners concerned about several high-profile incidents where pedestrians were hit by cars.
Council Chairman Glenn Choolokian said he continues to receive complaints about the danger of the Pine Avenue crossing.
“I think the whole project was a long process,” he said. “Thank God we’re at the end.
Choolokian said the many delays in the project should serve as a lesson for the future.
“We need to try to get things done faster,” he said.Contact reporter Justin Sondel at 282-2311, ext. 2257.