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Higgins, Brown, Ryan, Rivera announce start of construction on Ferry Street Bridge

by jmaloni


Thu, Oct 16th 2014 02:45 pm

$7.92 million project provides enhanced connection to improvements underway on Niagara Street and Squaw Island

Congressman Brian Higgins, City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, New York State Assemblyman Sean Ryan and Buffalo City Councilman David Rivera announced the start of a major reconstruction project on the Ferry Street Bridge connecting Niagara Street to Squaw Island.

"Once again collaboration is quite literally building bridges in Buffalo," Higgins said. "With this project, we strengthen destination points along Niagara Street gateway, put people to work in the City of Buffalo and invest in the future of our waterfront."

"The Ferry Street Bridge is an important link to one of Buffalo's crown jewels - Broderick Park - as well as to neighborhoods along Niagara Street," Brown said. "We are excited to begin this major infrastructure improvement project that will further strengthen the Niagara Street corridor, create jobs and serve as a vital link to historic Broderick Park, which is currently undergoing a $2.3 million transformation into a space that memorializes Buffalo's unique local history associated with the Underground Railroad. I thank our partners for being a part of this effort that will give residents and visitors improved access to Buffalo's waterfront and a unique cultural amenity at Broderick Park."

Ryan said, "The Ferry Street Bridge is an iconic and historic structure in the City of Buffalo, and I am thankful that the federal and state governments and the City of Buffalo have teamed together to preserve this important part of our history. The rehabilitated bridge will be a welcome complement to the new Broderick Park and Buffalo's West Side."

"The investment being directed here on the West Side is very important to developing and maintaining the historic and cultural importance of Broderick Park and Ferry Street," Rivera said. "As we move forward and plan for future development in Buffalo, we also must honor our past and preserve the stories of Broderick Park and Ferry Street and the roles they played in our city's early history. We also must provide safe bridges and roads to access our landmarks, and I commend Mayor Brown and Congressman Higgins for prioritizing the Ferry Street Bridge and supporting this project."

Originally built in 1913, the Ferry Street Bridge is a bascule bridge crossing the Black Rock Channel. Work is just beginning to rehabilitate the bridge and is slated for completion in early 2016. The $7.92 million reconstruction project includes $5.56 million in federal transportation funding, $1.31 million in funding from the City of Buffalo, and $1.05 million from the state.

The Ferry Street Bridge project complements a number of other improvement projects in the area surrounding the bridge:

Broderick Park will see a $2.3 million investment from the city and state. Of that total, approximately $1.5 million in enhancements are nearly complete, including creation of a south lawn and parking area, a new shelter, railings, sidewalks, bike path, amphitheater and central overlook. Concession building improvements, a memorial garden, Underground Railroad Freedom Walk pathway, north parking area and additional landscape features are scheduled for completion next year.

More than $1.5 million in funding was dedicated to recent repairs alongBird Island Pier. Collaborative efforts between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, City of Buffalo and Niagara Greenway Commission, supported dredging and repairs to shore up the unique pedestrian path that serves as both a barrier providing calmer waters for boats traveling the Niagara River and a fishing destination for anglers. In 2013, Higgins also successfully fought efforts by the U.S. Army Corps to block off access to Squaw Island fishing pier.

An additional $5.9 million in federal funding, including resources provided through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, was secured in 2011 for waterside improvements to the Black Rock Channel, Tonawanda Harbor and Buffalo Harbor.

The International Railroad Bridge underwent $2 million in improvements providing vehicular access to Squaw Island Park via a suspended roadway. The repair work included $1.6 million in federal funds, a $300,000 state allocation and $100,000 in city funding. The bridge supports rail transportation across the U.S.-Canada border.

Earlier this year, $500,000 in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funding was awarded to support green infrastructure projects along Niagara Street. This is in addition to more than $16.3 million in commitments for the multiphase Niagara Street Gateway project that began in August.

Construction on the Ferry Bridge brings the total recent investment along this portion of the Niagara Street section of the waterfront to more than $36.42 million.

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