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LOCKPORT – Demolishing the city’s old parking ramp has been a tougher job than expected, but Mayor Michael W. Tucker said last week that he expects the removal will be completed by Friday.

Empire Dismantlement of Grand Island, which won a $1.17 million contract to raze the 38-year-old ramp at Main and Pine streets, actually broke some of its equipment trying to smash the columns of the ramp, Tucker said.

“The columns were laced with metal,” Tucker said. The heavy rebar actually broke the wrecking machine three times, and another one had to be brought in. The rebar wasn’t found in the survey of the five-level, 260-space ramp.

The contract gave Empire until Sept. 29 to tear down the ramp and replace it with a 42-space parking lot.

“The contractor says he’s going to do it,” Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said. “Any changes would have to extend the contract.”

The Common Council and Ottaviano discussed the situation in a closed session Wednesday.

Ottaviano said the city’s architect on the project, Conestoga-Rovers & Associates, has proposed a change in the replacement surface parking lot.

Instead of a single level with a driveway to Main Street, Conestoga-Rovers is proposing a two-level parking lot, one exiting onto Main Street and the other onto Pine Street. That also would increase the number of spaces, although Ottaviano didn’t know by how much.

Tucker said, “That’s not a contractor’s decision. That’s a Council decision.” And the Council hasn’t agreed to make any changes in the plan.

The mayor said the demolition would be done already if not for the delay with the machinery.

The removal of the parking ramp is expected to open public access to an Erie Canal overlook that has been difficult to reach since the ramp was built in 1975.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com