Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the six-month competition will seek alternatives to replace the structure to provide safe and convenient transportation for motorists, while maximizing waterfront access for residents.
The state will solicit ideas from design firms, community planners, urban planners, architects and others. Factors that judges will consider include the cost of the proposal and the timing of its implementation. There will be a series of public hearings for community input.
“The skyway was built for a different time and a different economy, and it created a blockade to the waterfront,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Now we need to do the exact opposite and come up with an alternative design for the skyway. Let’s stop talking about studies and instead do a competition to solicit ideas from the best designers, architects and community planners and come up with a real plan for the skyway that creates a connected Buffalo with access to the waterfront and supports the region’s economy.”
The skyway was designed with a 110-ft. clearance to accommodate industrial work on the Buffalo River, making the bridge larger and longer. Today, the Buffalo River is primarily used as a recreational waterway, and the elevated highway is no longer necessary. An alternative design of this highway would open up waterfront land that isn’t currently accessible and further the revival of Western New York.