NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - High levels of radiation were blamed for bringing a road project to a sudden halt in Niagara Falls.
It is a two-year road construction project that is now in its fourth year, and counting. The two-mile stretch of Lewiston Road is being rebuilt from the curb down to the utility lines below. But the contractor, Man O' Trees stopped work abruptly late last year, claiming radiation in the road and adjacent yards was at unsafe levels.
Man O' Trees attorney John Bartolomei said, "We are saying that an independent study should be done to study what's there and how it should be removed. That's all we're saying. Before they open the street, know what they're up against."
Niagara Falls has fired Man O' Trees and sued the company and its bondholder for the money to hire another contractor to finish the job. Man O' Trees and its owner, David Pfeiffer, are countersuing the city to stay on the job and made their case to a state judge in Niagara Falls.
But the city claims, the countersuit is all about getting more money.
Niagara Falls attorney Ben Zuffranieri said, "They have been terminated, and the city would like to complete the job but can't complete it with this contractor."
What about the claims of high radiation in the road and adjoining properties?
"The New York DEC and the Department of Health and a number of high quality engineering firms has determined there's no risk to the residents of the City of Niagara Falls," Zuffranieri argued.
Weary homeowners along Lewiston Road don't seem to be buying the radiation dangers.
Sam Civiletto said, "I haven't heard anything yet that's proof that we are at risk. We've lived with it. It'll be going into the fourth year."
Man O' Trees is trying to get a restraining order to keep the city from hiring another contractor. Supreme Court Justice Frank Caruso reserved judgment, but promised a decision by Friday.
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A man who was wrongly convicted of second degree murder in 2009 has been set free after spending four years in prison.
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