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Letter: Skyway is important part of transportation system

Skyway is important part of transportation system

In 2014, I spoke with a New York State Department of Transportation local staff person, now retired. He said it costs much less to maintain the Skyway than to remove it. He stated two new bridges would be required to replace the Skyway’s functionality.

We hear about negative Skyway infrastructure assessments. Negative technical ratings were touted as reasons to eliminate the Peace Bridge. The Skyway was constructed in the 1950s, much later than the Peace Bridge built in the 1920s and the Grand Island Bridges, built in the 1930s. Remediation is good.

A recent letter to the editor called the architecture of the Skyway “appalling.” I call the bridge design elegant. The vista presented by the Skyway is spectacular. Why destroy it? Land under the Skyway is in use, much of it new, related to Canalside. Should we mess it up? The Skyway is rarely closed due to weather issues. Bridge detractors promote a closure myth that does not square with the facts.

The Skyway is an important part of our regional transportation system. This system is currently being fragmented. The Scajaquada Expressway is no longer an “expressway.” The Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council’s 2014 assessment of Route 198 suggested only a barrier for Delaware Park west of Parkside. A barrier was installed after the tragic death of a child killed by a medically impaired driver who was not speeding and whose license was later revoked due to his medical condition.

Some Skyway detractors have honest disagreements. However, I wonder if some decision-makers have financial conflicts of interest in promoting big construction at taxpayers’ expense. Are campaign contributors getting those contracts? Let’s find out.

Lynda Stephens


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