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Higgins Announces Completion of Parkway on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor

Oct 22, 2010
Press Release

Congressman Brian Higgins, New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), Acting Commissioner Stanley Gee and Acting Regional Director Darrell Kaminski today were joined by federal, state and local officials at a ribbon cutting to celebrate the completion of the $60 million Outer Harbor Parkway project in the city of Buffalo, Erie County.
“As today we mark the end of Outer Harbor Parkway construction we celebrate the beginning of waterfront public access and development never before seen in Western New York,” said Higgins.   “For decades this stretch of land along Buffalo’s waterfront has remained deserted and devoid of economic opportunity because people couldn’t get here and therefore business didn’t want to be here.   This Parkway transformation is a path to jobs, residential living and public destination points that build on our economy and quality of life.”

The project completely rebuilt State Route 5 from the U.S. Coast Guard Station to the Union Ship Canal, providing new access to the Lake Erie waterfront and the economic development opportunities that creates.  State Route 5 previously offered difficult access.  All of the highway interchanges were redesigned to afford the most convenient access to waterfront businesses and attractions.

Fuhrmann Boulevard was transformed from a neglected industrial road into a parkway, and now permits two-way traffic and on-street parking. It also hosts a multi-use pathway and has been enhanced with amenities to support bicycling and walking.  Special architectural imprints were used on the Route 5 bridge abutments to enhance their visual quality, and decorative lighting was installed to improve the streetscape.  The overall character, and appeal of Buffalo’s Outer Harbor for recreational purposes, has been greatly improved by the project, making it a world-class destination. 

“Because of Governor Paterson’s leadership, the support of our federal, state and local elected officials and the project’s Landscape Advisory Committee, the Buffalo Outer Harbor Parkway project is helping to reclaim and revitalize the city’s waterfront,” Acting Commissioner Stanley Gee said.  “NYSDOT will continue to work with Buffalo and other communities to make smart transportation investments that improve the quality of life while enhancing mobility, economic development and environmental protection across New York State.”

“We are pleased to be a part of this transformational project which is a leap forward for economic development along the Outer Harbor,” said Acting NYSDOT Regional Director Darrell Kaminski.   “Visitor’s to the new Outer Harbor will find an unprecedented transportation investment has been made.  We encourage all Western New Yorkers and their guests to come take a look at the new enhancements on the waterfront for transportation and recreation.”

“The completed Outer Harbor Project allows WNYers improved access to the jewel of Western New York, our outstanding waterfront,” said Senator William T. Stachowski.  “As a newly constructed parkway, Fuhrmann Boulevard has re-opened Buffalo’s Outer Harbor for recreational purposes for bikers, hikers and nature enthusiasts.  As the State Senator of the 58th District, representing much of the Lake Erie shoreline and Buffalo waterfront, I am quite pleased to have assisted in making this $60 million project a success that will be enjoyed by Western New York residents for generations to come.  I encourage people to come down with their families and rediscover Buffalo’s waterfront.”

"This project has given a whole new look to the Buffalo Outer Harbor, as well as expanding accessibility for vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists," said Assemblyman Mark Schroeder.  "This project is a major investment and will help residents and tourists enjoy Buffalo's waterfront for many years to come."

 “In 2008, I joined Congressman Higgins, NYSDOT officials and other state and local representatives to support the launch of this important infrastructure improvement project that will contribute to the continuing revitalization of Buffalo's waterfront,” said Mayor Brown. “With its successful completion, this multi-million dollar investment has transformed Fuhrmann Boulevard from a confusing, unsafe and underutilized road to a two-way parkway that will provide unprecedented public access and pastoral beauty to the water’s edge on the city’s Outer Harbor. This is a great accomplishment that continues the progress we have made in bringing our historic waterfront back to our residents and visitors alike.”

Douglas May, President of FAIR (Fair Apportionment of Infrastructure Revenues) said,
“Progress is happening on Buffalo’s waterfront.  We see it all around us today, and the plans and financing are in place for even more to follow.  After decades of inertia, it’s really happening.  This phase of the project, along with future phases, represents real jobs, good salaries, new tax revenue and a beautiful destination point for resident and visitors to our region to enjoy a natural resource and wonder that many other communities around the nation can only wish they had.  On behalf of the 5000 labor and business members of FAIR, I congratulate all of the people and organizations that made this possible and look forward to many more ribbon cuttings in the future.”

The Outer Harbor Project was recognized by NYSDOT with a GreenLITES Evergreen award for providing unique and significant benefits towards environmental sustainability.  These benefits were achieved through enhancements made to accommodate bicycling and walking, and by using a design that maximized green space and provided a designated wildlife crossing near the Tifft Nature Preserve.

The project also utilized special construction techniques that recycled existing materials on-site, thereby saving energy and transportation costs and minimizing excavation. 

The prime contractor on the project was Union Concrete and Construction Corporation of West Seneca, Erie County.

Construction will continue on the Outer Harbor in 2011 with additional enhancement projects.  Improvements will include construction of a new fishing pier near Tifft Street, a boardwalk for wildlife viewing at Times Beach and a new promenade at the Union Ship Canal.