Letchworth Bridge in southern Letchworth State Park celebrates its 141st birthday this year (built 1875) and will be replaced by a new steel arch bridge about 75 feet to the south. The new bridge will take approximately 3 years to complete. During that time efforts will be made to turn the original bridge into a pedestrian walkway similar to the hugely successful Poughkeepsie NY bridge crossing the Hudson River and gorge—now a New York State Park…
The current Letchworth bridge is steeped in history. The Genesee Canal ran under it; veterans of the Civil War helped construct it; the bridge replaced the biggest wood trestle ever built (based on board feet); just to name a few interesting facts. And there are many more.
Opponents cite that the two bridges will not compliment each other and the view upstream to the south will be compromised and the cost of maintenance will be too much for Letchworth State Park to pay for. I say the view is not OF the bridge(s) but ON the bridge.
As you look farther north you can see the river drop down another set of falls and curve to the west under 500 foot cliffs. THIS is the view.
In terms of cost I believe that the 71 million dollar price tag should include the approximately 2 million dollars to turn the existing bridge into a safe pedestrian walkway — considering that a considerable chunk of that 71 million will come from public monies. An engineering study has already been done by the same firm that did the Poughkeepsie NY bridge (Bergmann Associates).
Also, the cost of inspection and maintenance will not be as much as Norfolk Southern pays yearly considering that the yearly weight of tourists pales in comparison to weight of 5-10 freight trains crossing in a 24 hour period — one train weighs about 10,000 tons.
A fund could also be set up to help Letchworth State Park pay for the routine inspections. Norfolk Southern has already agreed to give the bridge to the park. Dismantling of the old bridge will cost about as much as preserving it.
[ Bill S2694 , introduced by Patrick Gallivan to transfer ownership of the bridge to the park, is currently sitting in the NY Senate. ]
Letchworth State Park just got voted the best state park in the USA by USA TODAY. Let us use this national traction to get this project moving. Let your voice be heard and tell your elected officials that this is important for National History and important for the people of Western NY State.
Save this bridge.
Tags: demolition, Genesee River, Letchworth State Park, National Register of Historic Places, New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), New York State Historic Preservation Office, Norfolk Southern Railroad, Portageville Rail Bridge, rail, rail bridge, Richard H. Jordan III, Walkway Over the Hudson
This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 16th, 2016 at 4:42 pm and is filed under Architecture, Opinion, Rochester Destinations, Rochester History, Rochester Images, Rochester Subway Stories, Train/Railroad Stuff, Transit + Infrastructure. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.