On a beautiful, warm fall Friday morning, public officials stood in the traditional pose with shovels in hand over a pile of dirt at the Port Ewen entrance to the stately, rusting century old Wurts Street Bridge, 17 stories tall and alleged to be the first suspension bridge in upstate New York. Only minutes before, with New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez leading the way, had Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, State Senator Michelle Hinchey, County Executive Pat Ryan, Kingston Mayor Steve Noble all praised the state for its commitment to spend $44.6 million to rehabilitate the structure.
“…looking forward to the future, the investment that the State of New York is making in the Wurts Street Bridge will guarantee that this architectural gem remains in place to the betterment of the City of Kingston and the Town of Esopus…” said Cahill, even as he joked about the raising of the bridge’s weight limit from three tons to 20.
“This effort to save Wurts Street Bridge and rehabilitate the beautiful landmark back to its former glory will help create jobs while enabling the bridge to resume its rightful role as a gateway to commerce, recreation, and culture for years to come,” added Senator Hinchey. “The Hudson Valley is an incredibly special place that needs and deserves this level of infrastructure investment from our state.”
The project will completely rehabilitate the Wurts Street Bridge “by enhancing the structural stability of the bridge…Improvements planned for the bridge include a new bridge deck, guide rails, sidewalks, railings and suspender cables. The bridge’s…sidewalks will be widened to meet current standards. New paint will also be added, lessening the need for annual maintenance,” reads Governor Hochul’s news release. “The chambers, where the main cables are anchored, will have state of the art climate control systems to control moisture and ensure the anchorages remain free from corrosion. Additionally, the control systems will be enabled with remote monitoring and operation.
“The popular pedestrian walkway and docks below the bridge will remain open during construction. The roadway below the bridge, Dock Street/West Strand Street, will also remain open, but existing parking spaces will be temporarily closed. Abeel Street on the northern end of the bridge will be reconstructed, requiring a temporary closure of one lane. All work is expected to be completed by fall 2023.”
All also praised the state’s efforts in the completion of the Kingston Roundabout Project, which “transformed a busy intersection into a modern roundabout that provides enhanced safety for all travelers and more efficient traffic flow for vehicles at one of the city’s key gateways. New sidewalks, signals and other pedestrian accommodations were also added.”