Final Approval on Peace Bridge Environmental Study
Buffalo, NY (WBEN) The state has received the OK from the Federal Highway Administration for its plans for the Peace Bridge Plaza in Buffalo. The FHA's record of decision is the final step in the environmental review process and the governor's office says it can now move forward with design of the project.
Cuomo's office says the state’s $35 million Gateway Connections Improvement Project will reconfigure access to the U.S. Peace Bridge Plaza in Buffalo, and reduce the amount of bridge traffic using local streets. The project will also restore and revitalize the historic Frederick Law Olmstead designed Front Park by removing Baird Drive.
The Record of Decision is the final step in the federal environmental review process, and allows the State to move forward with design and construction of the project. The approval marks the first ever successful Federal Environmental Impact Statement process at the Peace Bridge. The state DOT also issued an approval for the project.
“After years of gridlock and false starts, this approval represents another significant step towards improving access to the Peace Bridge from New York, and was done in just a little over one year,” said Governor Cuomo. “This important project will improve traffic flow and commerce between New York State and Canada, move commercial traffic out of a residential neighborhood, and restore Front Park – welcome and long awaited developments for the people of Buffalo.”
The project will construct a new ramp providing direct access from the U.S. Peace Bridge Plaza to I-190 northbound. The project will also provide a new access point for local and I-190 southbound traffic to the U.S. Peace Bridge Plaza, and will replace the bridge carrying Porter Avenue over I-190, in addition to removing Baird Drive from Front Park.
“This is an important component of several individual projects that combined provide new momentum to efforts that achieve a more predictable and efficient gateway between Western New York and Southern Ontario,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. “With federal authorization to proceed we now move forward with a Peace Bridge project which reconnects Front Park, provides new public waterfront access with dramatic views by improving this section of the Niagara Riverwalk, supports jobs during the construction phase and benefits the local economy over the long term.”
Assemblyman Sean Ryan said, "With today's announcement, we are now moving toward design and construction of critically important renovations that will modernize the traffic configuration at the Peace Bridge. After years of seemingly endless delays, we are now seeing significant progress at the Peace Bridge which will result in the diversion of traffic away from West Side neighborhoods, and the restoration of the historic plan for Front Park."
The DOT expects to issue requests for proposals from contractors this summer.