On Friday, the Peace Bridge Authority approved a contract to begin phase two of a project to widen the approach to the Peace Bridge plaza in Buffalo.
"The Peace Bridge traffic bottleneck leads to frustration and unpredictability that keeps people away from the border and closes off economic opportunity," said Congressman Brian Higgins, a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and Congressional Northern Border Caucus. "The widening effort is another component in an overall strategy to reduce congestion and improve the bridge to better support a robust cross-border relationship."
The widening project began in August with approval of a $1.3 million contract for phase one, which was completed last year. The contract for phase two was awarded to Pike Co., which has been involved with numerous projects in Western New York (including most recently the Buffalo Zoo's Artic Edge exhibit and work at Canalside), and came in under budget at $5 million.
In total, the project will provide an additional 215,000 square-feet of approach space for traffic entering the U.S. The expanded capacity will allow for better access to NEXUS lanes and an improved traffic flow. This phase is set for completion in late 2014.
This is one of four projects currently in development relative to the Peace Bridge. Other work includes: a project by the New York State Department of Transportation to reconfigure the connections between the plaza and the I-190, which removed traffic from Front Park and is in the final stages of environmental review; the new customs house; and the recently completed booths for the pre-inspection pilot.
Earlier this week Higgins joined U.S. and Canadian leaders in officially kicking off a pilot project at the Peace Bridge that allows for trucks to be pre-inspected on the Canadian side of the border. The project provides a promising opportunity to reduce congestion and offer environmental and economic benefits.