Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Just Two Years Away

The Ferry Street Bridge has been closed for four years, since October 2014. Two years from now, in September 2020, there will be a new bridge. On Monday night, at a meeting in the Community Room of the library, the engineers from Creighton Manning reviewed what's been done and what remains to be done in the long process of getting a new bridge.

Photo: Don Moore
As an early step in the process, Hartgen Archeological Associates was hired to assess the eligibility of the 1905 bridge for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. It was determined not to be eligible because it was constructed with salvaged parts and because it has been altered several times over the past century. SHPO (State Historic Preservation Office) concurred with Hartgen's findings, concluding, "The bridge no longer reflects its original design or use."

The course of action planned to the new bridge is to replace the superstructure but use the original laid-up stone abutments. The plan for the superstructure involves steel beams, a concrete barrier, and railings--the "bridge aesthetics." The options represented for the steel beams were either galvanized or painted--galvanized being sort of an aluminum gray, painted being any color desired but requiring maintenance. From the audience, Michael O'Hara suggested a third option: corten, which makes the steel look rusted. That suggestion seemed well received by those in attendance.

The preliminary design for the bridge shows a concrete barrier with simple molded panels with a metal railing on top. (Click the picture below to enlarge it to see the panels.)

Ian Nitschke, advocate for the historic Shaw Bridge in Claverack, and Timothy O'Connor both suggested that that the trusses from the 1905 bridge to be reused in some decorative way on the new bridge, to pay homage to the industrial history of the waterfront. It's hard to imagine how that could be accomplished, though, because the trusses are straight and the roadway of the bridge will have an arc. The arc is required, as is a steeper incline for the approaches to the bridge, because there needs to be greater clearance over the railroad tracks. The bridge is currently 19½ feet above the tracks; the requirement for the new bridge is 23 feet.

From barrier to barrier, the bridge will be about 40 feet wide, with sidewalks on either side, bicycle lanes beside the sidewalks, and two travel lanes for vehicles.

The complete PowerPoint presentation from Monday's meeting can be viewed here. The engineers are soliciting public comments. The form for submitting comments can be found here.


  1. i hate to say this, but whats the point of spending all that money on a bridge when one can drive a block down hill and cross the tracks ?

    this is a total waste of money. the city should have painted and maintained the bridge a long time ago. they didnt . and its not essential.

    whats the point of wasting all this time and money ??? another Hudson boon doggle.

  2. j kay, it's not a boondoggle at all, but that can be addressed later.

    No one is suggesting reusing the pony trusses to serve structural ends, but perhaps the outer two trusses (or something like them) still have an aesthetic use in the new design. The idea is to pay some sort of homage to the waterfront's long-lost past.

    As discussed at Monday's meeting, reusing the existing trusses would require removing an arc of material from the bottoms of the truss's intermediate posts, and then mounting the whole just beyond the planned "aesthetic concrete barrier." (No euphemism there folks, please move along.)

    The following page provides useful nomenclature relating to truss bridges: