Elmwood Avenue Bridge to be reconstructed; Scajaquada design still undecided

Feb 10, 2015

Elmwood Avenue Bridge over the Scajaquada Expressway
Credit Mike Desmond / WBFO News

The State Department of Transportation took opening bids for the re-construction of the Elmwood Avenue Bridge over the Scajaquada Expressway, on February 5.

DOT Region 5 Director, Darrell Kaminski, says construction is expected to cost $11-million, and will begin this spring. The design of the Scajaquada corridor which runs under the bridge is still in progress, but Kaminski says it doesn’t tie in.

“Well it doesn’t really tie in to the extent that we still need the bridge over the creek. So you would need that. And I think in most scenarios it would include a road where the Scajaquada Expressway is in some kind of context. So you would need a bridge over that anyway. And we considered that when we’re going forward with it, but the bridge did need to be replaced.”

The DOT worked with the Olmstead Conservancy and the City of Buffalo for an aesthetic design in line with Delaware Park. Kaminski says the bridge will be similar to the Delaware Avenue crossing, but will incorporate wider sidewalks for pedestrian activity, and enhanced bike lanes. The project’s construction is expected to be a two-season job, aimed to be completed in December 2016.

Kaminski says the still-to-be-decided design of the Scajaquada corridor below will not diminish the purpose of the bridge.

“It fits with any decision on the Scajaquada, whether it stays as is, whether it’s downgraded to more of a boulevard or parkway type highway, or a city street, even. Or even to the extent that it would be removed, it would still fit in that context. So I don’t think there’s any wasted effort here.”

The DOT was asked to look at a number of different alternatives, but Kaminski says the most challenging thing is satisfying area stakeholders.

“We’ll have to decide what we’re going to do, see if we can get consensus with all the stakeholder groups on where we want to go next. And then find the money. That’s always the hard part. Well finding consensus on this one because there’s such a diverse stakeholder group with a lot of incongruent needs and desires that I think finding consensus will be equally as challenging, but I do think we’ll get there.”

Kaminski is hoping for a public meeting this spring, or summer at the latest, after which the Department can make a more definitive decision.