Niagara Falls International Train and Intermodal Transit Station
Watts was responsible for the NEPA/SEQR documentation of the Niagara Falls International Train and Intermodal Transportation Center as well as the Site Inspection, Evaluation and Selection; Hazardous Waste/Contaminated Materials (HW/CM) Assessment; Asbestos Assessment; and Cultural Resources Integration. The project involved the revitalization and adaptive reuse of the Old Customs House, a National Register historic landmark structure, as the central hub for the new multi-modal facility. The Old Customs House was remodeled to house U.S. Customs and Immigration Services, Border Patrol, and the under-ground railroad exhibit and museum at what was known as the "Freedom Crossing" into Canada. The project is bringing together inter-and intra-city bus, highway, passenger rail, and freight.
Design included reconfiguration of the rail lines, inter- and intra-city bus loops and queuing, passenger drop-off/pick-up zones, a parking lot, access from all the amenities to the terminal, demolition of two railroad bridges and rehabilitation of one railroad bridge. Challenges unique to this project arise from its location adjacent to the Niagara River gorge, the Robert Moses Parkway, and the Whirlpool-Rapids Bridge Plaza and U.S. Customs Facility that adjoin the project site that is located in a corridor of national significance. Other challenges include the limited size of the parcel (approximately 3.5 acres) and the steep grades that exist across the site. Project stakeholders included a diverse group consisting of CSX, CN, CP, Amtrak, ViaRail, GBNRTC, NYSOPRHP, NYSDOT, NYSDEC, FHWA, NFBC, US-GA, and U.S. Customs and Immigration.
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) was the lead agency in the NEPA review process. The project was progressed as a Class III action which required an Environmental Assessment in accordance with NEPA and the U.S. Department of Transportation regulations. The project also satisfied all relevant SEQR regulations under New York State.