Local drivers who travel the Skyway can expect delays, road closures and detours in the coming months. The New York State Department of Transportation is expecting to begin rehab work on the bridge over the Buffalo River in the coming months - and a public information meeting about the project is set for next week. But Congressman Brian Higgins is still calling for the Skyway's replacement.
The DOT is planning to open bids in the fall and begin construction on the $24 million Skyway rehabilitation project by the winter. But Congressman Higgins says, instead of prolonging the life of the span for 20-years, Albany should replace it like they're doing with other old bridges.
"Throughout the state of New York your're replacing two major bridges in New York City at a cost of five to seven billion dollars with a B. You're removing two elevated sections of highway in Syracuse and Rochester at a cost of $500 million," Higgins said.
He points out that engineers have labeled the Skyway "structurally deficient" "functionally obsolete" and "fracture critical" which he says adds up to the same conclusion the bridge needs to be replaced with something newer, safer and more efficient.
"A shorter span lift bridge is a viable option. Tunneling is a viable option. The fact of the matter is the Skyway is almost 70-years old," Higgins said.
The South Buffalo Democrat says replacing it would mean about $150 million of construction trade jobs. And jobs in the design and material supply industries. He says, Buffalo is deserving of the same consideration as Syracuse, Rochester and New York City. The DOT will provide more details about the Skyway project August 29, from 3:30 to 6:30 PM, in the Gateway Building, 3556 Lakeshore Boulevard, Blasdell.