BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The ongoing fight over the future of the Peace Bridge and dozens of homes nearby has been moved to federal court. It comes just as the federal government steps in to monitor the air quality around the bridge.
Every day, tens of thousands of people cross the Peace Bridge. Their cars cause congestion and truck sometimes end up sitting idle. That's a big concern for Mike Speicher, who just moved into a home across the street from the three-lane bridge.
"It's not healthy to be breathing carbon monoxide from these vehicles," he noted.
With increased concern about health in the area around the Peace Bridge, State Assemblyman Sean Ryan announced Thursday, the Department of Environmental Conservation is stepping in.
"They will step up enforcement of the anti-idling laws, to prevent trucks from idling in the plaza, or the plaza area, as that has a negative impact on the air quality of the Peace Bridge area," Ryan explained.
The DEC will also install equipment to get an accurate read of the air quality around the bridge. News 4 has learned air quality testing hasn't been conducted around the Peace Bridge plaza since the early 1990s. It's about the same time calls went out to have the bridge expanded. All these years later there is still no expansion, but still a lot of traffic and the potential for increased pollution.
News of the DEC setting up shop in Buffalo is encouraging for Councilman David Rivera.
"We want to make a determination and try to understand what it is that is causing the high asthma rate and the respiratory illnesses here on the city's west side," he said.
The government initiative to cut down on pollution is all well and good, Speicher says, but he feels expansion is the best way to go. The thought is more lanes means traffic moves faster, thereby cutting down on idle trucks and pollution.
The DEC will begin testing in the next 45 days, spanning a period of about two months.
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