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Cedar Street

There's no clear cause of buckling along Cedar Street side walk but city will repair damage

By Howard B. Owens


While it's not unusual for recently constructed sidewalks to buckle in the heat, the number of faults in the sidewalk along Cedar Street since it was installed in 2013 is unusual, said City of Batavia Public Works Director Matt Worth.

It's also unexplainable. 

Worth -- wasn't appointed public works director until after the project was completed  -- indicated a combination of factors could cause the buckling, including the spacing of the joints, the nature of the subsurface, and the chemistry of the cement.  

The buckling is caused by the cement expanding in the heat of the sun beating down on the pavement.

It's been an issue ever since the project was completed, Worth said. While there are as many as six buckle points along the path now, eventually, the issue will resolve itself as repairs are made and pressure is relieved on the cement.

There's nothing to suggest, Worth said, that the contractor who installed the sidewalks, shares any liability.

City crews will repair the broken sections, he said, at a fraction of the cost of hiring a contractor to do the work.



Photo: DeWitt sunrise

By Howard B. Owens


Guy Clark, owner of Cedar Street Sales and Rental, shared this photo from earlier this week of a sunrise over DeWitt Recreation Area.

Local entrepreneur has growing new business on Cedar Street

By Howard B. Owens

The way 29-year-old Curtis Gallagher sees it, he's finally found a niche in business that isn't already occupied by a hundred other guys doing the same thing.

He's tried blacktop sealing and for two years he ran his own detailing and tinting shop. Now he's selling everything you need to start and maintain your own hydroponic garden.

A week ago he opened Nature's Best Hydro-Garden Center on Cedar Street, Batavia.

Hydroponics is an increasingly popular way for people to grow fruits, vegetables and even flowers without soil. The main medium is water, supplemented with nutrients.

"It's really pretty simple," Gallagher said. "A lot of people are intimidated. They think there's a lot to it, but it's very simple, and the growth rate for the plants and vegetables is twice as fast with hydroponics than in soil."

Gallagher sells everything a hydroponic gardner needs -- the trays and bins, grow tents, grow lights, nutrients and other items gardeners might use.

He settled on hydroponics for his new business because he found that he had a hard time getting what he needed locally to support his own hobby.

So far, he's drawing customers from throughout the GLOW region.

"There's a lot of people who have to travel out of town, so instead of spending their money in the community, they're spending it in Rochester or Buffalo," Gallagher said. "I'm trying to keep it in the community."

His parents loaned him the money to get started, though they were skeptical at first.

 "My parents asked me, are you sure, and I'm like, 'the only way to find out is to try it,' " Gallagher said.

He got out of the detailing business when his lease expired on his building and the landlord wouldn't renew it. He decided it wasn't worth it to try and open a new location.

When he started thinking of a new career, he realized he already had one growing.

"I'm really the only person around here doing this kind of work, and I think around this area, Genesee County, you have to be more creative," Gallagher said. "You have to have something that's more unique to be able to succeed verus just opening up something that everybody else is doing already. Whoever has their foot in the door first is the one who stays with their foot in the door."

Now, Gallagher is looking forward to each new workday.

"It's almost like having a pet," Gallagher said. "Like my tomato plants over there, every day when I come in it's like another tomato and another tomato. It's growing so fast I can't believe it. It's fun. I'm into hunting and fishing. It's like another hobby. Now it's turned into a career, I guess."

Photo: South section of Cedar Street closed for paving

By Howard B. Owens

Trucks filled with base and binder are on the south end of Cedar Street this morning getting ready for this week's paving job. The south end will be closed until at least Friday. Everything north of Edwards Street remains open, though crews are putting the finishing touches on that street reconstruction project. Businesses on Cedar Street remain open.

Workers go about lifting 255 ton bridge with care and precision

By Howard B. Owens

Lifting a 255 ton bridge is just as much work as it sounds.

A team of workers put in more than 12 hours yesterday lifting the Genesee Valley Transportation bridge that runs over the south end of Cedar Street -- the ones the trucks always hit -- exactly 36 inches.

Lifting the bridge took a mere 20 minutes. All of the other hours went into getting the hydraulic lifts -- called gantry lifts -- precisely into the their proper locations.

Raising the bridge is part of the Cedar Street reconstruction project. When the project is done, the bridge will provide a clearance of 14' 3" for trucks to pass under.

That's a foot higher than the former height and two feet higher than the sign on the bridge indicated.

The iron bridge was built some time around 1918 for the Lehigh Valley Railroad (the same rail line involved in that train derailment in Le Roy in 1970). It's the last of Lehigh's old line that's still operational. It's just a spur off the main CSX line and is used by GVT to move freight for Chapin Industries.

Rail cars are moved on the line only once every three weeks, meaning the window for lifting the bridge and putting it back in its new place is three weeks.

Yesterday, a crew of five men lifted the bridge.

Watching them do the bulk of the actual labor over a four-hour period was much like watching a well-practiced basketball team weave in and out of a triangle offense.

Few words were spoken and even fewer commands given. Each member of the team knew where he was supposed to be and when and what he was supposed to do.

You would think these men had worked together for years.

That isn't even close to the case said Kevin Seely, project manager for Tonawanda-based Hohl Industrial. It's quite possible this is the first time all five men worked together on the same project at the same time. Only two of the team members had much actual experience together.

That's one advantage, Seely said, of union labor. The workers who are hired for a job already know exactly what they're supposed to do.

All the men -- Seely, Carl Larson, Adam Swanson, Chris Wells and Fred Howry -- told stories of working on bridge lifts all over Western New York, including bigger bridges in Buffalo, bridges that had to be lifted half at a time in Corning, and a bridge in Lockport that was lifted, floated down the canal, turned around and put back in place.

It's not exceptionally dangerous work -- no more so than another other construction work -- but it is work, the kind of work that leaves a man tired, sweaty and grease-and-grime-covered.

It's also precision work.

When you're talking about lifting 255 tons of old iron (weighing a bit less than two jumbo jets), you better make sure the load balances properly. There's little margin for error.

Work started in the morning with laying the rail bed for the gantry lifts. Those had to be perfectly level. Then the lifts were rolled into place. Each of the four lifts -- which are rated for 113 tons each -- had to be measured and placed precisely under the bridge's beams.

Next, two steel beams weighing a few tons each had to be swung into place. Well, swung is too strong of a word. It took an hour for each beam to be meticulously moved onto the lifts, measured, moved, and bolted down exactly where engineers determined they should be placed.

Once in place, hydraulic lines were connected to the lifts and to a control panel so an operator could guide each lift up simultaneously. One lift going up too fast could throw off the load balance.

Before the lift, Howry cut off the dozen or so bolts that were tightened in place more than 100 years ago to anchor the bridge to its rock and cement base.

When workers were ready to start the lift, each jack only went up one inch while other members of the team checked to make sure each of the four corners of the bridge were clearing the base and lined up evenly. Howry thought the second jack needed to come up another half inch, so it was raised to keep everything level.

In looking for a quote about how carefully the operation proceeded, we asked Seely about the process and it put it in pretty obvious terms: "We don't want to drop it or have anything catastrophic happen."

Larson operated the control panel. He then lifted the bridge another 11 inches. It didn't make a sound. No dust or sparks flew. The movement of the bridge was almost imperceptible.

Workers again checked measurements. The bridge had come up with no more than a 1/4-inch variance on any lift.

Larson then started the to lift again, bringing up the bridge to its final 36 inches above its previous location.

The extra space will give construction crews room to operate to build the new seat for the bridge.

Dick Kraft, resident engineer for Erdman Anthony, said high-capacity concrete -- rated for 3,000 psi -- will be poured for a new bridge seat, allowed to cure, and then more concrete will be poured as a new back wall. Once that's cured, the bridge can be lowered to its new seat. And then Chapin can start moving shipments again.

If any of the workers wish to obtain prints of these photos, they can be purchased by following this link.

A few of the people involved in Wednesday's operation left before we could do a group picture, but pictured are, from left, Craig Stachowiak, Zoladz Construction, Tom Langiewicz, also with Zoladz, Kevin Seely of Hohl Industrial, Carl Larson, a resident of Boston, Adam Swanson, from Greece and with Iron Workers Local #33, Chris Wells, from Cattaraugus, and Fred Howry, Local #6 and from West Valley.

There's a couple of dozen more photos in the slide show and you can expand them to full screen.

Photo: Cedar Street reconstruction under way

By Howard B. Owens

Cedar Street reconstruction has begun. First up, removing all the asphalt from driveway for the county maintenance building north to Edwards. The road is closed in that location. The rest of Cedar Street remains open.

Cedar Street to be closed for five weeks during reconstruction

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

Phase 1 of the Cedar Street road reconstruction will be starting on Monday Aug. 26. Cedar Street will be closed to traffic from Edward Street to the north side of the Genesee County Highway Dept. drive. A traffic detour will be in place directing traffic around the project via Harvester Avenue. This road closure will be in place for approximately five weeks.

NOTE: I spoke with Guy Clark at Cedar Street Sales and Rental. His shop will remain open and accessible throughout the reconstruction process. He also said, "look for some fun events" during the next five weeks.

Public information meeting set for Cedar Street reconstruction

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

The 2nd Public Information Meeting for the reconstruction of Cedar Street will be held from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 7, at Batavia City Hall in the Council Board Room (2nd Floor).

Erdman Anthony, the engineering firm retained by the city, will present the Draft Design Report and discuss different design alternatives under consideration. The design alternatives were developed after the current road conditions were assessed, input from the residents and businesses along the corridor was considered, traffic studies were analyzed and surveying and mapping was completed.

The reconstruction of Cedar Street from Main Street (Rt.5) to Ellicott Street (Rt. 63) is a Locally Administered Federal – Aid Project that is scheduled for construction in 2013-2014.

A copy of the Draft Design Report is available to review at city hall in the Department of Public Works; Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 4:30 pm.

Photo: Construction on Cedar Street

By Howard B. Owens

A reader contacted us this afternoon and said Cedar Street was closed due to construction. He said traffic was being rerouted. However, about a half-hour later, traffic was passing through the construction zone one lane at a time. A worker said construction will hopefully wrap up in a few more days.

Photos: Sewer line installation on Cedar Street

By Howard B. Owens

Workers are busy on Cedar Street installing a new sewer line that will be one of two connections between the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park and the city's sewer system.

The Cedar Street line will run from the west side of the park, through the county's highway department property and then north on Cedar to the city's main line under Main Street.

Alpina Products, the first tenant for the new business park, breaks ground on construction of its facility at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow.

Water flow testing on Cedar Street Friday morning

By Billie Owens

At about 9 o'clock on Friday morning, Aug. 5, the city fire department will be conducting water flow testing on Cedar Street. Nearby homes and businesses may be affected.

Possible affected areas would include Ellicott Street, Edward Street, Wallace Street, Florence Avenue, Buell Street, Webster Street, and Wade Avenue.

Water flows may create a temporary discoloration in the affected areas. Should your water become discolored, you are advised not to wash your clothes until the water clears.

City holds first public informational meeting on proposed Cedar Street reconstruction

By Howard B. Owens

There are three primary reasons Cedar Street needs an extreme makeover according to consultant Marc D. Kenward.

First is the poor drainage that causes cracks and potholes; second, the low clearance of the bridge at the south end of Cedar (you know, the one the trucks hit a few times a year); third, a need for improved pedestrian mobility (sidewalks).

The reconstruction of Cedar has been a goal of the city for years, but the project is now in the pipeline because 80 percent of the $3.7 million price tag will be covered by the federal government and state grants will pay the rest.

An informational meeting at City Hall this evening, which about a dozen people attended, was an introduction of the plan and an opportunity for community members to provide feedback.

There will likely be one more such meeting as the planning progresses, Kenward said.

First public information meeting on Cedar Street project is Thursday

By Billie Owens

This information is from city Director of Public Works Sally Kuzon.

The City of Batavia has begun the preliminary design for a project to reconstruct the entire length of Cedar Street. This is a locally administered federal-aid project that is scheduled for construction in 2013.

Design development is now under way. During this phase, comment and input from affected residents and businesses are valuable and required elements necessary for achieving a successful project.

The first public informational meeting is this Thursday, Feb. 3, in the Council Board Room (2nd floor) at Batavia City Hall. People are invited to voice concerns and ask questions. City staff and representatives from the consulting engineering firm, Erdman Anthony, will be there.

The meeting will be divided into two parts, with a session for business owners and representatives from 3 to 5 p.m. and another for residents and residential property representatives from 5 to 7 p.m. But if you are unable to attend during these designated times, please feel free to join the meeting anytime between 3 and 7 p.m.

Erdman Anthony, which was retained by the city this past October, has completed survey and mapping for the project and is beginning engineering studies.

Alleged fugitive from Georgia arrested at Cedar Street residence

By Howard B. Owens

A man allegedly wanted in Georgia on felony warrants was found in a Cedar Street home by local law enforcement around 5:30 p.m., Saturday.

Batavia's ERT members, along with members of the Drug Enforcement Task Force and Batavia Police officers and Sheriff's deputies where called in to help take David L. Hendrix, 29, into custody.

Hendrix, aka David Young, was arrested at 3 Cedar St., Batavia, where he was apparently staying.

He is allegedly wanted in Georgia for robbery, assault and a parole violation.

Following arraignment in City Court, Hendrix was jailed without bail.

A witness informed The Batavian that police had Cedar Street closed in both directions during the activity.

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Photo: Car with flag on Cedar Street

By Howard B. Owens

When I drove past this oddly parked car with a flag sticking out of the passenger window, I had to turn around go back and get a picture. I have no idea why the car is parked this way. Perhaps it's somebody's creative way of trying to draw attention to the building behind it that's for rent.

City could use federal funds to improve Cedar and Summit streets

By Howard B. Owens

The City of Batavia could reconstruct both Cedar Street and Summit Street at no direct cost to local taxpayers, the City Council was told tonight.

By combining annual federal infrastructure funds the city already gets with an 80-percent funding grant, the city could complete $5.7 million projects by 2012 and not a dime would come from city coffers.

The 80-percent grant is Federal money that is administered by the state.

The city must apply for the grant.

Reconstruction would rebuild the streets rather than just repave them, which was recently done to Oak Street.

Summit will cost an estimated $2.2 million and Cedar, $3.5 million.

The city plans to move ahead with design work that will put it in a position to receive the grants, using funding already available from the feds.

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