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Safety work starts on the Skyway

WBFO file photo

Commuters who drive the Buffalo Skyway should expect lane closures in both directions for the next several weeks. As WBFO's Chris Caya reports - it's part of a plan to increase safety and determine the future of the mile-long bridge. 

Maintenance crews with the New York State Department of Transportation are scheduled to start wrapping the concrete fascia of the Skyway, today, with netting.
"We just completed a hands-on inspection of the fascia. Rest assured that it is completely safe. The structure is completely safe. This netting is just an extra safety measure just to ensure no falling or spalling concrete - especially in the recreational area of Canalside," Susan Surdej, the DOT's, Public Information Officer, said.

Starting in the spring, projects will go out to bid to repair the fascia and also the bridge deck and structural steel.
"This is necessary maintenance that has to be done to ensure the continued safety of the Skyway structure," Surdej said.  

Along with the safety projects, Surdej says, the DOT plans to hire a consultant to help determine the fate of the Skyway. She says, next year, work will begin on an Environmental Impact Statement.
"That's actually going to look at the mobility, environmental, cultural and economic impact and any associated mitigation associated with either the removal or replacement of the Skyway," Surdej said.

The long-term study, she says, will help the DOT, elected officials and the community make informed decisions about the Skyway moving forward.