Sunday, August 30, 2020

Update on the Bridge

The Ferry Street Bridge, described by as "an extremely unusual and historic structure," began providing vehicular and pedestrian access over the railroad tracks to the river in 1905. 

In October 2014, the bridge was determined to be unsafe, and it was closed to vehicular traffic. In April 2016, it was announced that funding had been secured to replace the bridge and restore this access to the river. According to the schedule then announced, a schedule determined by the NYS Department of Transportation (DOT), construction of the new bridge would happen in 2020. There have been some delays, and construction of the new bridge has now been postponed until 2021. 

At the last Common Council Public Works and Parks Committee meeting, DPW superintendent Rob Perry reported that permission from DOT to move from preliminary design to final design this still being sought. The preliminary design was presented at a public meeting in October 2018, and public comment was solicited. The next step in the process--moving from preliminary design to final design--will also involve public engagement. 

Two things have eliminated the notion of restoring the existing bridge. The State Historic Preservation Office determined that the bridge was not eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places because it was constructed with salvaged parts and had been altered several times since it was built in 1905. The conclusion was that the bridge "no longer reflects its original design or use." The second reason is that Amtrak is requiring greater clearance for trains under the bridge. The vertical clearance of the current bridge is 19.5 feet. The required clearance is 23 feet. As a consequence the slope of the approaches to the bridge, both from Front Street and from Broad Street, will have to be significantly steeper than they are now.

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