New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez and State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton today announced that the lift bridge carrying State Route 259 (Union Street) over the Erie Canal in the village of Spencerport, Monroe County, will open to vehicular traffic on the evening of Friday, November 20, following 16 months of construction, which required the bridge to be raised and accessible for boat traffic only. The bridge, which was originally constructed in 1914, is one of two bridges currently under rehabilitation as part of a larger initiative to restore and preserve the state’s historic canal structures.
“Governor Cuomo is committed to making smart transportation investments to preserve our state’s history while benefiting local economies and promoting mobility in downtown settings like Spencerport,” Commissioner Dominguez said. “Monroe County is home to many impressive and historic canal structures that continue to serve our transportation system more than 100 years after they were constructed, which is why it’s so important to keep them safe and reliable.”
“Lift bridges are iconic structures over the Erie Canal in Western New York that connect canalside communities over the historic waterway,” said Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton. “The Canal Corporation is proud to collaborate with the Department of Transportation on this project as it restores a critical transportation link within the village of Spencerport and reinforces Governor Cuomo’s continued investment in infrastructure to ensure it is safe and reliable for generations to come.”
The New York State Canal Corporation is responsible for maintaining and operating the lifting components of the canal bridges, while NYSDOT owns and maintains the bridges and state highways
The Route 259 Lift Bridge initially closed in July 2019 to undergo replacement of the existing flooring system, which included the installation of high-strength galvanized steel, and updates to the lifting mechanisms and control tower. Following the repairs, the bridge is now accessible for all vehicles of legal loads to safely travel over the bridge and the southern approach along Route 259 has been re-aligned to enhance safety and improve sight distance for oncoming vehicular traffic.
Congressman Joe Morelle said, “Improvements to the Erie Canal Lift Bridge mark a critical step forward in our efforts to improve our aging transportation infrastructure and revitalize our communities. This extensive rehabilitation project serves to better accommodate the needs of commuters while preserving our historic structures. I’m grateful to the New York State Department of Transportation for their work to improve safety and accessibility and move the Finger Lakes region forward.”
Senator Rob Ortt said, “The numerous Erie Canal lift bridges throughout Western New York are representative of our collective history and a reminder of the rich cultural story of our region. The careful restoration of these bridges is vital to not only preserving historical structures of our past, but also for serving the greater economic needs of our local business community, bolstering the quality of life for residents, and improving access for emergency services.”
Assemblyman Peter Lawrence said, “I am pleased that the Spencerport Lift Bridge at the Erie Canal will be open to vehicular traffic and that the project is near its completion. This project is part of a $16.3 million infrastructure investment by the state and will allow travelers in the Town of Ogden and Village of Spencerport to navigate over the Erie Canal safely and efficiently. I applaud the residents and all my partners in government for their patience and input during construction and I want to thank the New York State Department of Transportation and State Canal Corporation for acknowledging the community’s needs and moving forward with the plan.”
Spencerport Mayor Gary Penders said, “I would like to take this moment to pass on the appreciation the Spencerport Village Board has for the timely construction job on the Route 259 Lift bridge in the Village of Spencerport.
Because of the project we were able to complete our own sidewalk replacements in the area by the south side of the lift bridge, without disrupting that area later to accomplish that. Hohl Contractors were a pleasure to work with, addressed every concern we had. DOT addressed our numerous issues with our Martha Street detour thru out the project. Even though we are a small Village our Village Board appreciate the concern showed to us for the disruption this project caused to our business and residents. The project was handled in a professional manner from the top to the guys working on the bridge. Personally, my hat is off to all that were and still are involved with this project.”
While Route 259 has reopened to vehicular traffic in Spencerport, construction activities at the bridge will continue on-site and motorists should be advised of potential short-term delays to test the lifting mechanisms of the bridge.
The Route 250 (Main Street) bridge in the village of Fairport, which is currently under construction as part of the same project, will re-open to traffic as early as February 2021. It is expected that both the Route 259 and Route 250 lift bridges will be fully functional and accessible for vehicular and boat traffic ahead of the 2021 canal navigation season.
Motorists are urged to slow down and drive responsibly in work zones. Fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone. Convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone could result in the suspension of an individual’s driver license.
Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward
Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $8.07 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.