The New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority (PBA) announced they will conduct air monitoring at the Peace Bridge to assess how reducing traffic congestion at the span connecting the U.S. and Canada affects air quality. The monitoring will assess air quality prior to prospective renovations to the plaza as well as after improvements, which are designed to reduce congestion, are complete. Monitoring is expected to start in August.
The project will also include increased enforcement of idling regulations on big rigs parked at the U.S. plaza area.
“I’m very pleased that the DEC has agreed to my request to install air monitors and to increase idling enforcement at the Peace Bridge,” said NY State Assemblyman Sean Ryan. “Putting air monitors in place and getting conservation officers on the ground to enforce idling regulations will go a long way toward improving the health of Buffalo’s west side residents. It’s good to see that the PBA and the DEC have stepped up to the plate to improve conditions at the Peace Bridge.”
“With the amount of traffic that the Peace Bridge sees, it is very important for the surrounding neighborhoods that the state ensures that all vehicles meet or exceed air quality standards. This new air monitoring initiative … will not only ensure vehicle compliance but will begin to study trends for future requirements,” said NY State Sen. Mark Grisanti, Senate Chairman of the Environmental Conservation Committee.
Two monitoring locations will be selected with one upwind of the Peace Bridge and one downwind. Each location will have equipment to measure fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and black carbon. Sulfur and metal content will also be assessed from the PM2.5 samples. This monitoring will be done in accordance with all standard air monitoring protocols. A meteorological station will be installed at one of the sites.
Monitoring will take place for six months prior to renovations and construction activity, and for six months after renovations are complete. Fine particulate matter, PM2.5, and black carbon will be monitored continuously. This data will be available to the public on DEC’s website. Continuous data provides information that can be used to correlate with other observables such as traffic volume and time of day.