BUFFALO, N.Y. — New York State is out with its formal requests for proposals to re-develop the Buffalo Skyway.

State officials also announced an ambitious time table in order to get designers to submit plans as part of a contest, where the winning entry will receive a $100,000 prize.

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo says it is hoped that a winning entry will be found by mid-September, after the 32 page RFP called "Aim for the Sky"  was released Monday.

When Cuomo first said he was casting an eye toward the Skyway in late February, he was quite clear that he was talking about its future removal.

But by April when he came here again, he modified that position, saying the idea might not be to remove it, but to perhaps re-purpose it as some sort of urban park, like the New York City High Line, a former railroad trestle. 

But even if they get the idea of the century as a result of the contest, it might be some time before the Skyway, which is currently undergoing $30 million in repairs—is somehow transformed.

"I think it's just too early to say exactly it sort of depends on the ideas and what the concepts are," said Howard Zemsky, the outgoing head of the Empire State DCevelopment Corp.

"Depending on what the project is you'd have to put the funding together then you'd need to do an environmental impact statement so my guess is you're talking years," said Cuomo, when asked how long a re purposed Skyway might take to actually come to fruition.

However, eager to get the ball rolling, it was announced that by mid July they hope to review the top 20 submissions (provided they get that many) with ten chosen as finalists.

From that group, a panel appointed by the governor and lead by Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown would then choose a winning concept  by mid September.

The criteria for the designs note they must be "affordable," and include rational estimates of costs, along with identifying potential funding sources-- "feasible,"  meaning the benefits of whatever design someone submits would outweigh the cost...and "technically achievable", meaning any design would have to account for current and future transportation needs - especially any plan that calls for removing the Skyway.

The Skyway, which was constructed in 1953, is a four-lane expressway that runs four-miles along the waterfront.

The original intent of the Skyway was to bring truck traffic from factories and the port of Buffalo to the highway. However, with the closing of our steel plants in the 1980s, the Skyway has been used for commuter traffic to the southtowns. 

Here are the rules for submissions:

Part 1, open now, allows respondents to provide an overview of their idea and how it addresses the main objectives and constraints of the competition through an application form available here.  Submissions will be evaluated for responsiveness to the goals of the competition, technical complexity, and feasibility. The deadline for Part 1 submissions is 3 p.m. on Friday, June 28.

Respondents who best demonstrate how they meet the evaluation factors will be invited to provide a Part 2 submission, to open Monday, July 15, which will include a full technical proposal and finished graphics, suitable for gallery presentation. Up to 20 Part 1 respondents will be invited to proceed to Part 2.  

For more information:  https://esd.ny.gov/skyway