BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The Skyway is a towering concrete connector, considered a lifeline for commuters, but it's also seen as an aging eyesore on Buffalo's evolving waterfront.
The decades-old highway bridge is driving a new debate. Some 45,000 vehicles cross it every day and the Skyway has served commuters since 1956.
But Rep. Brian Higgins says there are cheaper and better alternatives than pumping millions into the Skyway over the next 20 years and argues Buffalo needs to be smarter about future waterfront development.
He's taking aim, again, at the 56-year-old Skyway. Rep. Higgins is asking the State DOT Commissioner to look at alternatives to financing another reconstruction of the Skyway.
"It will require $117 million in repairs over the next 20 years to perpetuate the existence of that bridge for the next 50 years," Rep. Higgins said.
He argues there are alternatives, like a Buffalo harbor bridge connecting the outer harbor with the inner harbor, and turning Ohio Street into a parkway.
Buffalo Common Council President Rich Fontana says he's mixed on the Skyway debate because development is already happening around it.
"To be honest with you, if the Skyway is there 10 years from now I think the city could move forward just as fast if it wasn't," Fontana said. "I don't think we should let that be an impediment to our progress on the waterfront."
Assemblyman Sean Ryan calls the skyway a big albatross, and says no one can wave a wand and get rid of it overnight.
"We need to only do maintenance on the Skyway that keeps drivers safe," Ryan said. "The Department of Transportation should not be looking at a 20 year maintenance plan for the Skyway. We need to be looking at a 10 year maintenance plan, and at the end of that 10 years we should have alternative in place."
Rep. Higgins added, "Once all the facts are in people will begin to look differently at the viability of this versus a new direction."
A few weeks ago, State DOT Regional Director Darrell Kaminski told reports that the Skyway won't be demolished any time soon.
A Buffalo Police vehicle was involved in a two-car crash around 8:40 a.m. Monday. The crash happened at Bailey and LaSalle Avenues.
A Buffalo city jail cell block attendant was arrested early Saturday morning on multiple animal cruelty charges.
An airman from Niagara Falls was away training for the Air Force for months. After being apart from his family, he decided to surprise them at Kelly’s Country Store in Grand Island.
Police say that with the assistance of local media, they were able to identify the person responsible.
Monday is being billed as a national "Day of Action" among teachers and community groups who are worried about the state of education.
Police say 29-year-old Joshua Sullivan was already issued an order of protection that prohibited him from subjecting the child to any verbal or physical abuse.