NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) - The honeymoon is clearly over between Niagara Falls and a contractor who's left a major road project unfinished.
It was one year ago when Luke Moretti reported on Man O Trees halting work on Lewiston Road after discovering high levels of radiation. That project was already over budget and behind schedule.
The Falls is suing the contractor over the two-year construction project that is now in its fourth year. Residents living with the dust, cracked sidewalks and torn up street are livid.
Frank Dadario said, "He doesn't know what he's doing. He will dig, he will pave, and all of a sudden they find out they have to do something. They come back, dig it up. This corner has been dug up and replaced four times."
Two miles of Lewiston Road have been ripped up, dug up, paved over and then dug up again for almost four years. And it's not getting any better.
In fact the contractor, Man O Trees of Buffalo, has done little work, if any since last fall, even though the company was granted an extension. Now the city is suing the contractor and has hired the law firm of Hodgson Russ to handle the litigation.
Mayor Paul Dyster said, "In the final months of that extension, basically very little work was done. We concluded at the end that they had basically abandoned the project."
As the litigation drags on, city workers have laid down temporary pavement over some of the rough spots on Lewiston Road, to make things a little easier for drivers.
And if the contractor's name seems to ring a bell, that's because Man O Trees is the company hired to rebuild the splash pad at Martin Luther King Park in Buffalo that is way behind schedule.
And in the proposed sale of the Small Boat Harbor, the successful bidder was a subsidiary of Man O Trees. But negotiations seemed to have broken off and Brian McGowan would like any new owner to be qualified.
"This is 1,000 boats down here. You need somebody who's got expertise at managing a boatyard," McGowan said.
Man O Trees owner, David Pfeiffer, is not returning phone calls. But a year ago, Luke Moretti asked Pfeiffer about radioactive slag in the Lewiston Road project, which Pfeiffer blamed for the delays.
"There is a health hazard on that project, and it is not being properly cleaned up," Pfeiffer said.
Our calls to David Pfeiffer and his attorney have not been returned.
We can tell you a Man O Trees crew was removing the marked safety signs and barriers along Lewiston Road Friday afternoon. But a contingent led by Mayor Dyster, the police superintendent, State Police, and other officials forced the workers to put the signs back.
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