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A peek at the Skyway's past, but what is the future?

Posted at 11:49 PM, Jan 28, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — It's one of the great debates in WNY -- the Skyway. One Buffalo historian said it's been essentially a topic of debate since the beginning.

Over the last 65 years, the Skyway has seen millions of drivers. It sees more than 40,000 drivers a day.

"It's one that we've been discussing as a region for more than 100 years," Angela Keppel said. She's a blogger and Buffalo Historian.

In September, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the winner of the Skyway Corridor Competition: "City of Lights: Re-View Our Waterfront." It's a plan that sees part of the Skyway removed. Public meetings encouraging feedback began Tuesday.

But this new plan, Keppel said, may be history repeating itself.

"Transportation projects -- there's a lot of moving pieces, both figuratively and literally, the cars," she said. Keppel added the first talks of the Skyway date back to the early 1900s. Fast-forward to the '30s and the project failed to be build because of a lack of funds.

"They had to decide whether to build the Skyway bridge or build Memorial Auditorium," she said.

It was then was delayed in the '50s, due to the war effort. Keppel said steel from Bethlehem Steel needed to build the bridge was rerouted. The Skyway eventually opened in 1955.

"There were actually sidewalks and bicycles were allowed," she added. In the '80s, Keppel said the "Gateway Tunnel Plan" was introduced and then died. Years later the "Southtowns Connection Project" was another failed option.