CHEEKTOWAGA – Saying the 60-year-old Buffalo Skyway would never have been built today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is seeking alternative designs that maximize waterfront access and provide safety for motorist.
Cuomo was in Buffalo Thursday to announce a design competition to help determine what will replace the Skyway. The contest will run for six months and the winner will receive $100,000 for the design.
Cuomo said the current Skyway is functionally obsolete, structurally deficient and unpopular with commuters. Currently, the only option is to rebuild the 60-year-old Skyway, a structure that would never be constructed today, Cuomo said in a statement.
“The skyway was built for a different time and a different economy, and it created a blockade to the waterfront. Now we need to do the exact opposite and come up with an alternative design for the skyway,” Cuomo said. “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-foot 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, officials said.
Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said, “The Governor’s idea for a design competition is a very creative approach to reimagine what this roadway could be to improve transportation access and stimulate additional economic development.”