NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (KDKA/AP) — The public was given a look at the design alternatives for the bridge replacement project will require shutting off the water flowing over the U.S. side of Niagara Falls.

A public meeting was held Wednesday evening in the city of Niagara Falls so state officials could discuss their plans to replace two 115-year-old bridges linking the mainland to two islands on the American side of the Niagara River.

The Falls remain a major tourist destination for many Pittsburghers.

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Officials say the project will require building a dam that will divert the river’s flow to Canada’s Horseshoe Falls, essentially shutting off the American Falls.

“So much talk over the last 48 hours has been about the de-watering. That’s not the end, that’s a means,” said Mark Thomas, NYS Parks District director.

State parks officials said before the meeting that the project won’t start before 2019. But it could mean the water will be diverted for up to nine months.

Three designs for the replacement bridges were displayed: steel overhead arches, stone archways similar to the current spans and a multi-girder bridge made primarily of steel.

The spectacle happened once before, in 1969, when the Army Corps of Engineers did a study on erosion at the falls.

The replacement project could cost $24 million. So far funding hasn’t been secured.

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