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WSP gets Buffalo light rail extension contract

Written by Keith Barrow, Senior Editor, International Railway Journal

A major engineering consultant will take part in the initial phases of expansion of a New York state light rail project.

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority board has authorized the award of a $4.8-million contract to WSP USA for environmental review and engineering design services on the first phase of the seven-mile extension of the Buffalo light rail network to Amherst.

Following the completion on an analysis of transit options for the Amherst corridor in 2017, a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) was selected for an extension of the existing 6.4-mile Buffalo Metro Rail line from its current northern terminus at University South Campus.

The extension would follow an underground alignment from University station to a portal near Eggert Road, continuing at-grade along Niagara Falls Boulevard to Maple Road and Sweet Home Road before reaching University North Campus.

The extension will reduce travel time between the north and south campuses of the University at Buffalo to around 17 minutes.

Phase 2 would extend the line to a terminus near Interstate Highway 990 at Audubon Parkway.

In January 2017 New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved the allocation of $5 million in state funding through the Buffalo Billion II program to complete the environmental review for the Amherst extension, which is expected to boost Buffalo Metro Rail ridership from 20,000 passengers per day to more than 40,000 per day by 2035.

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