The future of the Buffalo Skyway is once again in the forefront. For years, Congressman Brian Higgins has called for it to be knocked down. As YNN's Jon Dougherty tells us Tuesday Higgins announced the State Department of Transportation will study that exact idea.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Congressman Brian Higgins said Tuesday the Skyway is one step closer to coming down.
"This is not about tearing something down. It's about building something up," Higgins said while standing at Canalside with the Skyway in the background.
Higgins sent a letter to the New York State Dept. of Transportation in September asking them to study alternatives to the more than 50-year old stretch of road that links the city's inner and outer harbors. In response, DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald said the state will.
The DOT says significant bridge work is years away, but over the next ten plus years it will cost more than $100 million in maintenance. Congressman Higgins says knocking it down and replacing it with a smaller bridge and improving corridors like Ohio Street and Fuhrmann Boulevard would be smarter.
Higgins said, "It would not only less costly to construct but the ongoing maintenance would be must less."
Rep. Higgins said taking down the Skyway would make room for more redevelopment along the waterfront.
"The pillars would be replaced with real development, commercial mixed-use development, and public access. The potential is limitless," Higgins said.
There's still a long way to go.
In a statement, Commissioner McDonald said quote, "Recognizing the significant investment associated with preserving the Skyway, I agree that it is appropriate to identify and to assess alternatives to the continued existence of the Skyway. Because of the Skyway's importance in the existing transportation system, any discussion of removal must be given a full assessment."
The study is expected to take about a year and then there will be even more discussions on what the future holds for the Skyway.
Buffalo: Higgins says NYS DOT to study future of Skyway
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Meanwhile, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown supports plans by Higgins to have the Skyway torn down, although he said it's mainly a state and federal issue.
"I would love to see it come down and if the state and federal govt can provide the resources to remove the Skyway, I think it would be a good thing," Brown said.
Regardless of what happens with the Skyway, Brown says the city will continue to move waterfront development forward.