Niagara Falls Blvd. to get lit up for safety

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TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) – The towns of Amherst and Tonawanda are taking steps to make a deadly stretch of Niagara Falls Boulevard safer.

Niagara Falls Blvd. is one of the busiest thoroughfares in Western New York, especially where it separates the two towns, but the only lighting along the 3.3 mile stretch from the Youngmann Expressway to the Niagara County border is vehicle headlights, and the lights of businesses along the route.

Amherst officials sought out help from the state, and Town Supervisor Dr. Barry Weinstein said they have come up with a plan, “We asked the Department of Transportation what we could do to increase safety along this corridor on Niagara Falls Boulevard, and their number one suggestion was street lighting.”

Five people have been struck and killed crossing Niagara Falls Boulevard since 2013, and now officials from Tonawanda and Amherst are joining forces to light up the boulevard, with Amherst taking the lead.

Amherst has drawn up a $935,000 capital improvement project, designed to light the east side of Niagara Falls Blvd. all the way to Tonawanda Creek. The state is covering about two thirds of the cost.

The Amherst project includes new lights and poles, while Tonawanda Town Engineer Jim Jones said their plans call for attaching the lights to existing utility poles, and placement of the lights will take advantage of existing sources of light.

“What they call ambient lighting from the businesses–they provide some level of illumination–but the street lighting would increase that level of illumination and make it that much more safer.”

Because Tonawanda estimates their cost to be only about $7,000 to $8,000, that will be covered by the General Lighting District. The Amherst town board is expected to approve the hiring of a consultant at their next meeting, October 30.

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