The city of Rochester received a federal transportation grant that will go toward filling in the eastern section of the Inner Loop. The project will bring the roadway to grade level and connect surrounding neighborhoods.
It's a plan that's been in the works for years. Now it's about to become a reality.
The city of Rochester was awarded a $17.7 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER grant, to bring the eastern section of the Inner Loop to grade. It's the third largest TIGER grant in the nation.
Senator Charles Schumer and Congresswoman Louise Slaughter helped secure the funding.
"We've already invested a considerable amount of our own money in the design and the preliminary work we believe helped get the project and so we're going to be ready to go," said Mayor Tom Richards, D-Rochester.
Dirt from the proposed marina development at the Port of Rochester will be used to fill in the Inner Loop's 2/3rd mile trench that runs from Monroe Avenue to Charlotte Street, creating a boulevard setting through the center of the city.
"We're going to be able to recreate here almost from our point of view an idealistic street and streetscape where we have separate opportunities for bikes, separate opportunities for walking without the kind of problems we have almost everywhere else where we're dealing with a fixed infrastructure," Richards said.
City leaders believe filling in the Inner Loop will help spur economic development and create a more liveable downtown.
Once complete, the city would like to develop the area along the grade level roadway. Richards believes the project will benefit the Strong Museum of Play.
"You know, the museum is sort of trapped over there now, it's one of our world class attractions here in Rochester and now we can have an appropriate entrance to it because they're sort of backed into the expressway right now and it's not a very pleasant place to be. That's an example of the kind of development we can have here."
The total cost of the project is $23.6 million with the city kicking in $5.9 million.
Work is expected to begin in the fall of 2014 and take two to three years to complete.