Environmental study for Skyway changes expected to take two years; Cuomo wants it to “break that record”

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday he’s aiming to have the environmental study on a proposal to redevelop the Skyway completed in less than two years.

Officials selected “City of Lights” as the winning proposal of a competition to “re-imagine the Buffalo Skyway Corridor”. The plan was one of 16 finalists, and calls for the Skyway to be turned into an elevated park, called “Skyway Park”.

Vehicular traffic would no longer use the Skyway under the plan. State officials estimate it would cost $600 million. The first step in the process is to complete an environment impact statement. Earlier this week, Cuomo pledged $10 million to conduct that study.

“The fastest time frame for the completion of the environmental impact statement, which is required by the federal government, is about two years,” Cuomo told News 4. “My goal is to break that record, so as soon as we have the federal commitment, we will go.”

Cuomo said the state is prepared to spend its 20 percent of the total cost. He has already pledged $10 million toward the environmental impact statement. Rich Azzopardi, senior advisor to the governor, said work on that study is already underway.

The governor was less committed on a projection for the final completion date of the project.

“We don’t know,” Cuomo said. “The tearing down is easy. That won’t require time. What might require time is improvements to other roads that we determine to create new routes for the traffic from the Southtowns.”

The environmental study includes a traffic study to review that, Cuomo added. The “City of LIghts” proposal called for an extension to be built from Tifft St. in South Buffalo to Elk St., with continuing access to I-190. It also proposed two bridges be built over the Ship Canal to accommodate traffic.

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