It has been three years since the city began its largest and one of its most expensive highway reconstruction jobs on Main Street in University Heights, a stretch of road in North Buffalo that sees 26,000 cars daily.
When the Heights part of it is finished this summer, few disagree it will be time and money well spent. But for the residents who have seen business drop and quality of life decline, the end can't come soon enough.
"It has been significant, highly significant," said Jon Welch, owner of Talking Leaves bookstore. "It's been rough on most of us. I don't think there isn't anyone who hasn't been impacted."
When the $15 million project is done, there will be repaved roads, new medians, coordinated traffic signals, better lighting, benches, bike racks, and cobblestone sidewalk highlights; all the finishing touches are scheduled to be done by Labor Day.
At times, though, Main Street has resembled a war zone, tractors and trucks rolling like tanks past trenches where street and sidewalk used to be. With half the thoroughfare closed, cars navigate at a crawl between paths of orange cones, the traffic sometimes maddening.