By: Marcos Lebron
(Buffalo, NY) Results of a recent successful eleven-month pre-inspection project in Fort Erie, Canada showed that inspection and processing improved at the Peace Bridge, in fact, pre-inspection reduced wait time at the bridge significantly for trucks crossing the border reducing emissions in the community.
A decision to make all inspections on the Canadian side of the bridge is expected by July 31st. And Congressman Higgins and Senator Schumer are calling for permanent inspection on the Canadian side of the bridge.
With the news of inspection on the Canadian side of the bridge Niagara District Councilman who represents the area around the Peace Bridge has filed resolution in the Council calling for the Pease Bridge to halt expansion on the United States side of the bridge and that their be no encroachment on to Busti Street or the community in and around Columbus Parkway.
News of the resolution has angered Governor Cuomo and his local economic development staff in Buffalo.
Demolition of the Episcopal Church Home has continued and Councilman David Rivera has asked the Mayor Brown to seek an injection on further expansion on the Buffalo side of the bridge since expansion is no longer needed to improve truck traffic at the bridge.
The Clean Air Coalition and the residents of Prospect Hill welcomed the news but remained skeptical in light of the recent demolition in the community and the Major reconstruction at the Peace Bridge begins this summer, so if traffic jams inconvenienced your crossing into Canada last year, chances are your wait won’t be any shorter this summer – or the next two.
But when an $80 million portion of the project is completed three years from now, bridge officials say you will enjoy the experience, in large part because it will be quicker.
But also because:
- Crews will replace the international span’s deck (roadway plus underlying steel) for the first time since its 1927 construction as part of an overall $167 million capital plan.
- Pedestrian walkways up to eight feet wide will allow cyclists to ride across the bridge instead of walking their bikes as now required.
- New curbs, railings and historic lighting will enhance what many already view as an architecturally significant structure.
- Overhead electronic signs will better direct traffic flow.
- A new observation platform will provide spectacular views of the Niagara River below.
“You will have a view of the water rushing around the piers underneath that will be really a unique experience,” Facilities Manager Anthony D. Braunscheidel said during Friday’s Peace Bridge Authority meeting.
All of the improvements, he promised, will restore “the original charm of the bridge.”
“We are very proud of the plan for what will be our ‘magnificent mile,’ ” added Peace Bridge Authority Chairman Anthony M. Annunziata.
In the meantime, bridge officials seek to ease this summer’s congestion by first widening the Canada-bound approach. Beginning in July, a fourth lane will be added to expedite the movement of trucks off the bridge into Canada.