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Arterial Project Update: Contractor demolishing buildings asks for extension

By GARY LIBERATORE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - As you drive along the arterial in the City of Utica each day, it seems that progress is being made on this first part of the first phase of the arterial project, the demolition of the buildings.

While progress is being made, though, on Monday, NYS D.O.T. Regional Spokesperson James Piccola told NEWSChannel 2 that the contractor that is doing all of the demolitions has asked for a two month extension.

"Right now the contractor is asking for an extension to the end of August," Piccola said. "There was more abatement work that needed to be done that was seen. The asbestos that's left in the wall board and stuff like that, and the flooring. There's a little bit more than we anticipated."

Piccola says that despite the fact that the demolition process of all 57 buildings will now not be completed until the end of August instead of the end of June, the overall project remains on schedule.

He says that's mainly because the next portions of Phase One on the $60 million project can continue as scheduled.

Those portions are the construction of a pedestrian bridge as well as the road construction that will connect Lincoln Avenue with Burrstone Road and will connect Champlin Avenue with Oriskany Boulevard.

Those two road construction projects will help traffic flow once the major construction work on the new section of the Arterial begins, which is expected to start in May 2014. However, it will also help in the long term as well.

Piccola says the contracts for those projects went out for bid in late March and are expected to be awarded sometime this week.

The entire $60 million project is still two to three years away from completion.

So far, 22 of the 57 buildings that need to torn down, have been demolished.

We talked with Utica resident Karen Sterusky, who lives on Roberts St., where the current demolition of homes is taking place. She says it appears things are going fast.

"I don't know they say what, 2015, 2016," Sterusky said. "I don't think it's going to take them that long, not the way they're going."

Piccola says there is also good news when it comes to the expected traffic pattern once the actual construction of the new Arterial begins next May.

"It looked like when we first started the project, we were going to have one lane traffic in each direction, but our guys have been working hard and also with the contracting community," Piccola said. "It looks like we're going to be able to keep traffic north and south two lanes in each direction, which is going to be very good for the traveling public."

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