The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC), in cooperation with the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) is conducting a study for a bridge project located in the City of Buffalo, Erie County. ECHDC and NYSDOT are advancing this project by developing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
The project is intended to replace the former South Michigan Avenue Bridge over the City Ship Canal. The former South Michigan Avenue Bridge once crossed the City Ship Canal in the vicinity of the General Mills Plant and connected Michigan Avenue to Fuhrmann Boulevard; it was rendered inoperable and removed by the City of Buffalo in 1964.
The project area comprises 1.5 mile corridor extending from a northern terminus at the mouth of the Buffalo River in the vicinity of the Erie Basin Marina to a southern terminus near the southern navigation limit of the City Ship Canal (west of the existing Ohio Street Bridge) in the inner and outer harbor areas of Buffalo. The Buffalo River crosses the corridor and contains a federally-regulated shipping channel in this area. (Project study area map). Because the preliminary scope of the project calls for a low-level bridge, it is likely a moveable structure (e.g., bascule, swing, lift, turntable or other type of moveable bridge).
The project corridor also contains several existing and/or planned land and water uses including several private marinas, mature industrial facilities, the Erie Canal Harbor, the proposed Canal Side project, the proposed Waterfront Village project, and the proposed Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino Complex.
Two prior reports have been prepared by the City of Buffalo related to a new bridge over the Buffalo River. In 1987, the City prepared an Engineering Report for a Gateway Bridge and in 1998, the City prepared an Expanded Project Proposal (EPP) for an Inner-Outer Harbor Link. Both reports examined various alternatives for a bridge connecting the Inner and Outer Harbor areas. In addition to replacement of the South Michigan Avenue Bridge, these studies examined other potential crossing locations such as Erie, Pearl, Main and Ganson Streets, as well as various moveable bridge types (i.e., swing, lift, and bascule).