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February 21, 2014

LaGrange Street work is expected to last 18 months

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Remedial work on LaGrange Street could last as long as a year-and-a-half, according to New York State Electric & Gas Corp., the company that will handle the work and foot the bill.

LaGrange is closed from South Transit Street to Saxton Street on the east, a roughly 300-foot stretch of road. NYSEG workers will be excavating the road and the company’s electric substation lot, right down to the bedrock to remove coal tar, a thick liquid byproduct of coal distillation that in higher concentrations is a carcinogen.

“We are beginning the work now and we expect that the project will take up to 18 months,” NYSEG spokesman Clayton Ellis said in an email. “We will certainly do whatever we can to minimize any inconvenience to residents and businesses in the area.”

Closing LaGrange may create traffic issues, as the road is used heavily for visitors going through the drive-through lane for the next door Tim Hortons restaurant on the corner of South Transit and Genesee streets. The location also has a Mobil gas station and a Crosby’s convenience store.

How the closure will affect business is unknown at this point, said Doug Galli, general manager of Reid Stores, Inc., the Brockport-based division of the Reid Group that runs Crosby’s stores. The Reid Group owns Reid Petroleum, which is based in Lockport.

“Whenever a road is shut down adjacent to a store with gasoline, yes there’s some concern,” Galli said. “But we’re not sure how it’ll affect us. Hopefully we’ll weather the storm.”

There aren’t any homes on that closed section of LaGrange, but a Saxton Street home on the corner has a garage facing LaGrange.

From the 1850s to 1927, the NYSEG substation site housed a manufactured gas plant that burned coal and petroleum products to provide gas for homes and businesses. Over time, coal tar left behind settled into the soil and, ultimately, the bedrock. The state Department of Environmental Conservation said coal tar appears to have migrated north from the substation toward Genesee Street and the Erie Canal, in which the tar is seeping into.

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