The historic Kingston-Port Ewen Suspension Bridge, also known by locals as the Wurts Street Bridge, is getting a makeover. New York State Governor Kathy Hochul recently revealed that roughly $44.6 million has been set aside to start the major bridge rehabilitation project in Kingston, New York, which has been closed since September 2020.
"We continue to make ambitious investments in transportation projects throughout New York that are built to last, and these two in Kingston are perfect examples of how we are connecting communities efficiently and safely," Hochul said of the investments. "Project by project, we are moving New York forward and building one of the most robust and versatile transportation networks in the nation."
The 100-year-old Wurts Street Bridge will see a complete rehabilitation to the structural stability, as well as a new bridge deck, guide rails, sidewalks, railings, paint, and suspender cables. Additionally, the bridge's load capacity is expected to grow to twenty tons and sidewalks are to be extended to meet existing standards.
"As the first suspension bridge ever built in the Hudson Valley and the oldest in the Hudson River Valley Region, the Wurts Street Bridge is an important part of our local history that has served as a critical connector between our Kingston and Port Ewen communities,” stated New York State Senator Michelle Hinchey. “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. The Hudson Valley is an incredibly special place that needs and deserves this level of infrastructure investment from our state. We're grateful for Governor Hochul's continued support and excited by the progress to come from all of the revitalization projects currently underway."
A state of the art climate control system will be added to the main cables housing in the chambers, as well as control systems for remote operation and monitoring.
"The Wurts Street Bridge is an important piece of history, an iconic and beloved landmark in the City of Kingston and on the Rondout Creek,” City of Kingston Mayor Steve Noble noted of the investment. “We're looking forward to the bridge's preservation, as the residents of Kingston appreciate being able to walk, bike and connect to our neighbors in Port Ewen. I want to thank Assemblyman Cahill for his help in securing the funding for this major bridge renovation project. I would like to thank NYS DOT and their contractors for their excellent work on the roundabout, which provides a beautiful new gateway into our city while also reducing congestions and greenhouse gas emissions. Governor Hochul has shown her commitment to getting infrastructure work done here in the City of Kingston and I want to thank her and the State for supporting our continued efforts to restore and revitalize our vital infrastructure."
The roadways below, including Dock Street and West Strand Street, will remain open during construction, as well as the pedestrian walkway and docks below the bridge. Abeel Street will be part of the reconstruction and will see the temporary closure of one lane as a result.
"Transportation investments are vital to community revitalization,” New York State Secretary of State Rossana Rosado noted of the investment. “These infrastructure projects will enhance and help amplify the revitalization already underway through Kingston's $10 million DRI award. These synergistic investments are building on the vitality of Kingston and supporting the broader renaissance in downtown redevelopment throughout New York State."
Additionally, the $11.6 million Kingston Roundabout project officially wrapped up construction recently as well, adding new sidewalks, signals, raised crosswalks, a storm water treatment system, a mixed-used path, and rapid-flashing beacons to warn drivers when pedestrians are using the crosswalk.
"New York State continues to make critical investments that will create a more resilient transportation network, strengthen communities and improve quality of life,” said DOT Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez. “The rehabilitation of the Wurts Street Bridge will restore an important link for Ulster County residents and travelers and, at the same time, add aesthetic enhancements that will cement this bridge's status as a Hudson Valley icon. Additionally, the new roundabout will reduce congestion at one of Kingston's most vital gateways and help keep people and goods flowing throughout the Hudson Valley for many years to come."
Guiding the revitalization projects is Kingston's Strategic Investment Plan, which was named a DRI Round 2 winner in 2017. Funded projects continue to build on previous investments in both downtown and surrounding areas to create a more sustainable and prosperous economy.
"On this historic occasion, 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,” New York State Assemblymember Kevin Cahill remarked of the investment. “I want to thank Governor Hochul and the New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Dominguez for their dedication to making this project happen for the people in my district."