BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — After about three years of construction, the contractor working on the “Allen Street Improvement” project spanning from Wadsworth Street to Main Street finished paving on Friday, giving motorists, pedestrians and store owners a feeling of relief.

“It was a struggle just to try to operate a business and we were a new business coming to the street. So, for our customers to get down here it was a real struggle for them. To see it open now is a breath of fresh air as a business owner,” said Byron Cogdell, owner of The Hoagie Shop.

The project began in 2019. Leaders on Friday said they recognize the challenges that it has caused to local businesses.

“There were a number of challenges but through it all, we tried to stay in contact with the residents and businesses. I’m sure that there is still some displeasure. We’re going to continue to communicate with residents and businesses since there’s additional work that’s going to be done,” added Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. 

The over $13 million project includes a new street and sidewalks. However, finishing touches are still being added by this winter including new lighting, landscaping and artwork.

“Having any walk-through traffic has been tough,” said Mathew Daly, manager of The Flo. “So, to have the street back open, having people and local people come down and be able to come in and see the shop and the things that we offer has been very helpful. It’s been a very noticeable change having the street back open again.”

“We are hopeful that the vibrancy that this street has always had will come back and that the street will become even more vibrant than ever,” Mayor Brown said.

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Dillon Morello is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has been part of the News 4 team since September of 2023. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.