U.S. Senate Minority Leader, Charles E. Schumer, yesterday called on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prioritize a project that will build a new, safer and more durable stone barrier to shield Route 5 against crashing waters from Lake Erie during large storms.
Schumer said that a new barrier is critical to ensure the safety of drivers trying to access their homes, schools and local businesses.
Without critical federal funding, drivers are at direct risk – especially during the winter, when the water freezes almost immediately creating even more dangerous conditions, Schumer said.
In addition to the significant safety concerns, Schumer said that the economic consequences are palpable: during the winter months, local official are often forced to close the roadway, cutting off vital access to over 40,000 vehicles, and hurting many local businesses who rely on traffic from Route 5.
Schumer is also urging USACE to work with local officials to implement this critical project that will create a stronger barrier and also double as a concrete pedestrian walkway along the shoreline.
“My message to the top brass at the United States Army Corps of Engineers is simple: prioritize this project, channel the resources needed and rebuild this crumbling lake-front wall on Route 5 now. Route 5 is the vital link between Buffalo and the Southtowns and this deteriorating wall, that fails to hold back lake surges, too often severs that link,” said Senator Schumer.
Nearly a century old, the existing wall is rapidly deteriorating and is no longer able to absorb or drain the large waves that result from storms on Lake Erie.
The effects are even worse when southwest and west winds hit the shore putting drivers along Route 5 at constant risk of being caught by waves as they crash onto the roadway, concluded the senator.