BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Congressman Brian Higgins now says there are more reasons, besides old age, for taking down the Skyway.
The Buffalo Democrat is citing public safety and environmental factors for tearing down the elevated highway, but the old bridge is gaining support from those who use it.
Brian Higgins has been urging state and federal officials to take the Skyway down for years.
Higgins is well known for bringing life back to Buffalo’s waterfront, but a growing number of commuters are saying replacing the Skyway, that is a bridge too far.
“The Skyway is dangerous, it is dated, and it is dirty,” Higgins said.
Congressman Brian Higgins is putting state officials on notice that cars on the elevated highway and pedestrians below it are in jeopardy and he cited structural deficiencies in a five-page study.
“Standing under the Skyway is just as risky for pedestrians, as evidenced by ‘dangerous falling debris’ signs underneath,” he added.
Higgins was joined by State Senator Tim Kennedy, who as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee has some sway in Albany for setting state spending priorities.
The two Buffalo Democrats insist replacing the Skyway will open up the land underneath to new development and easier access to the Outer Harbor.
State Senator Tim Kennedy said, “you can see the Outer Harbor, but you know what? In order to get there you have to drive over two miles to get there.”
But after years of prodding state and federal transportation officials to remove the Skyway, there is growing opposition, as demonstrated by this Amherst man crashing the Democrats’ new conference.
“It takes one minute going over the arc,” Robert Altman, who wants to keep the Skyway, said.
A local group in favor of keeping the Skyway has started an online petition to hold onto the 65-year-old elevated highway that now has collected thousands of signatures, and there is also a Facebook page called the “Skyway Club“, that is showing more than 1,600 members.
“What we have before us right now is an opportunity of a lifetime., an opportunity we will never get back. It is a generational opportunity we have not seen since the New Deal,” Senator Kennedy added.
A group local politicians is also speaking up. In light of billions of dollars in federal funding being earmarked for transportation, they would like to see other projects given a higher priority than the Skyway.