Due to the ongoing controversy centered around the Peace Bridge Authority's rather awkward plan to duplicate a twin span, one would have to conclude it is now generally accepted to be a mistake. A more imaginative concept is desired.
The Peace Bridge Authority has focused on an arch over the Black Rock Channel.
If an arch is contemplated, then why not a stainless-steel, reinforced polished-concrete fixed-cable design, supporting a six-lane roadway?
An arch infinitely more sophisticated, where two thrusting lines would create a ribbon-like assemblage of mass and scale?
Perhaps it could house a 500-foot observation tower and a restaurant. This new bridge would be upriver, taking advantage of a non-productive area of the city.
Think about how exciting it would be for tourists to enter a retail and duty-free souvenir shop at the base of the bridge, then promenade through rows of merchandise with logos publicizing the new bridge and the City of Buffalo.
Tourists could purchase a ticket to enter a moving sidewalk encased in a glass enclosure, then take an elevator 500 feet to the observation tower and restaurant, visually linking Buffalo to Niagara Falls.
This rendering is conceptual. However, according to engineering friends, the technology exists. It can be done.
The question is funding. When officials from the Bridge Authority first made their presentation, the cost was estimated at $60 million. But it was reported in The News on Oct. 20 that officials now anticipate $100 million will be available. And Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who was unimpressed with the proposed design, has said he may be able to secure up to $200 million for the project.
If this is true, a bridge of the above design is totally within reason. Renowned architect Louis Sullivan once said: "It behooves us to dream, lest we be rigid and plummet to the past."
Donald R. Parrino Kenmore