Congressman Brian Higgins announced continued progress on efforts to examine removal of the Buffalo Skyway. On Monday, the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council, the region's transportation planning board, took action to endorse plans for formal environmental review of skyway alternatives.
"A full environmental review provides this community with data to make informed decisions about the future of the skyway," Higgins said. "This is a necessary first step in the potential removal of the elevated highway that we believe has outlived its usefulness and serves as a structural barrier to the continued economic growth along our waterfront."
Higgins has been pressing for skyway removal for years and, in June, received confirmation from the New York State Transportation commissioner that the Department of Transportation will move forward with a full Environmental Impact Statement. The $6 million review will be supported with federal highway funding and state matching funds.
The EIS will evaluate alternatives including rehabilitation, replacement and/or removal of the skyway. The process includes an examination of mobility; environmental, cultural and economic impacts; as well as mitigation actions, associated with both the removal and/or replacement of the skyway. Project scoping is set to begin in April.
The Buffalo Skyway is a 1.4-mile elevated highway built in 1956, when Buffalo's bustling port received 20 million tons of cargo annually via lake freighter. Today, the structure looms over prime property at Canalside and an additional 27 acres of property along the Outer Harbor.