BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - It's been 10 months, but downed light poles along the 198 in Buffalo haven't been restored. It's been a problem for years.
In February, News 4 counted 22 light poles on the ground along the 198. The road belongs to the state, and Public Works Commissioner Steve Stepniak told us then, "Until that road is reconfigured by the state, I think there are going to be issues out there."
RELATED | See our February report here
The road went unchanged and now more light poles are down, bringing the total to around 30. The poles line both sides of the expressway, so why haven't the lights been replaced with ones that function?
Stepniak says the city has the light poles in stock right now. But work can't begin until Buffalo has permission from the State Department of Transportation.
But it's complicated. While the city owns the light poles, National Grid is responsible for the foundation, cables and the lamp itself. And there has been some progress. A number of the foundations have been moved back from the road along the Delaware Park section of the 198.
Crews are hopeful moving the foundations back will prevent the poles coming down in car accidents - a problem that isn't new. In 2007, News 4 examined the problem with Stepniak, who was then acting-Public Works Commissioner.
He said then, "And we do them twice a year and we have to do entire lane closures."
Someone knocks them down and the city has to put them back up again, like a never ending game. But this year they will remain down until the city gets permission from the state to do the work.
Stepniak says the city never applied for a highway work permit with the state, which could be a problem as the winter months approach, but he's hoping to get the needed permission.
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