By Autumn Evans
At its Tuesday meeting, the North Tonawanda Common Council awarded a contract to South Buffalo Electric to improve traffic signals at the intersection of Nash Road and Meadow Drive, the latter of which was extended last year.
"By opening up that road, we increased the amount of traffic at that intersection, and it's our busiest pedestrian intersection because we have (on) Meadow the high school, the elementary school, we have the library, shopping," City Engineer Dale Marshall said. "Everybody knows that it's a bad intersection as far as the geometrics go."
Using funds remaining from the Meadow Drive extension project and a $120,000 rebate from CSX Transportation, the city was left with a $180,000 budget to install a fully actuated intersection controlled by loops with additional pedestrian crossing signals, in addition to paving and line striping work.
Marshall said the project was originally bid out in December, but the only bid the city received totaled $202,000. He said his department redesigned the project, taking out the paving, signage and line striping aspects, and reopened bids in February.
Of the three bids received, South Buffalo Electric offered the lowest price. For the base work alone, its bid was about $104,000. Adding in paving, signage and line striping as alternates, the company's bid still came in under budget at about $160,000.
The board unanimously approved a resolution to allow Mayor Arthur Pappas to award South Buffalo Electric the contract for the work on Nash and Meadow.
In other council news:
•The council passed a resolution to call for the state to provide additional funding to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority in light of a projection it might cancel some routes in the city.
Among the reasons listed was a 2013 federal government fiscal assessment that found the NFTA was operating efficiently but was hampered by zero growth in revenue sources. Also listed was the fact that funding from the state's public transit operating systems to downstate systems has increased more than 8.5 percent since 2008, but the NFTA's has increased only 2.5 percent during the same period.
•Resident Ann Finkle questioned whether anything could be done about the potholes appearing throughout the city.
"The potholes are getting big enough to eat my car, and there are enough of them to eat a freight train's worth of cars," she said.
She asked whether covering them with pieces of sheet metal was feasible, rather than filling them with materials that are quickly displaced.
Marshall responded doing so would cause problems for snowplows and would also likely result in the pieces of metal being strewn about the streets, plus such a process would be cost-restrictive.
"There's nothing really you can do," he said. "It's the freeze-thaw cycle, and it's the worst winter ever in Buffalo ... there's really no solution other than to get on them as soon as the weather breaks."
•The council passed a number of Traffic Safety Committee recommendations, including a suggestion to install a new detection device at the traffic light at the intersection of Payne Avenue and Fredericka Street.
•The council granted permission to Jack Michel to hold the "Come Fly a Kite for Homeless Veterans" event at Gratwick Riverside Park on May 30.
•Pappas, Alderman Eric Zadzilka and Alderwoman Donna Braun again thanked the residents for their help in clearing fire hydrants in front of their homes and their neighbors' homes. Pappas also mentioned the city received many fewer complaints than he expected in light of February's weather.
"I think the public realizes that the police, fire (department), Department of Public Works, volunteers have been working 24/7 to try to keep things as safe as we can and the public has been very gracious about that," he said.
•The next council meeting on March 17 will be Student Government Day, when students from North Tonawanda High School will see what it's like to be a city official for a day.