$319,000 NY Works Project Repaired Bridge over Otsquago Creek Damaged by 2013 Flood
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the complete reconstruction of the Otsquago Creek Bridge on the Erie Canalway Trail in Fort Plain. The project restored a link in the popular recreation trail that was severely damaged by extreme weather in 2013.
“The Erie Canalway Trail is a great destination for tourism and outdoor recreation in the Mohawk Valley – and with a restored Otsquago Creek Bridge, it’s now better than ever before,” Governor Cuomo said. “The Otsquago Creek Bridge suffered tremendous damage as a result of significant flooding, but today we’ve rebuilt it to be stronger and more resilient with the next storm in mind. This is another example of how the State is bolstering our infrastructure in the face of extreme weather, and I am proud to see this portion of the trail reopened for New Yorkers to enjoy.”
In June 2013, a damaging flood struck western Montgomery County, washing out the east abutment for the bridge that carried the recreational trail over the Otsquago Creek in Fort Plain. The damaged eastern span had to be removed as an emergency safety precaution, resulting in a gap in the trailway. Photos of the bridge in the aftermath of the flooding can be viewed here.
The new bridge is designed to withstand more severe flood events in the future. A longer span replaces the damaged span and the new abutment includes steel piles driven into bedrock. New stone rip-rap was also placed around the existing center pier and west abutment. Photos of the newly reconstructed bridge are available here.
Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks), said, “I’m thankful for the leadership of Governor Cuomo in making it a priority to ensure that our state’s recreational facilities are repaired and made more resilient following damaging storms. Parks, trails and other recreational facilities are crucial to a community’s quality of life and business climate, and no storm recovery is complete until infrastructure is back serving the public.”
Brian Stratton, Director of the New York State Canal Corp., said, “The cross-state Erie Canalway Trail generates more than $250 million in tourism-based spending annually according to a recent study. Governor Cuomo’s commitment to restoring the Otsquago Creek Bridge has re-established a link that is vitally important for the Village of Fort Plain, while providing a critical route for thousands of cyclists, pedestrians and others who use this segment of the trail system each year.”
Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk said, “The Otsquago Creek Bridge is a vital part of the Erie Canalway Trail in our community, and I am very excited to see it rebuilt. Governor Cuomo is absolutely right to focus on strengthening our infrastructure so that it continues to serve future generations. This is a great day for Fort Plain and for everyone who enjoys visiting the trail.”
Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara said, “The restoration of the Otsquago Creek Bridge reflects the state’s commitment to rebuilding stronger than before and embodies the perseverance of the people in Montgomery County, who have never given up in the face of adversity.”
Montgomery County Executive Matthew L. Ossenfort said, “Our strength has continually been tested, but the people of Montgomery County always respond. Our area has a vast array of waterways, trails and abundant land, making it truly an outdoorsman’s paradise and part of our fabric and rich history. The bridge over the Otsquago Creek, on the Erie Canalway Trail, is one that was previously used by runners, cyclists, skiers and snowmobilers. I would like to thank and am proud to stand alongside the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation as we officially open this bridge for public use.”
Robin Dropkin, Executive Director of Parks & Trails New York, said, “Parks & Trails New York commends Governor Cuomo for so speedily rebuilding the Otsquago Creek Bridge in Fort Plain to restore an important link in the popular Erie Canalway Trail used by walkers, bicyclists, cross-country skiers and, in this region, snowmobilers. A recent study commissioned by Parks & Trails New York shows just how popular the cross-state trail is, with almost 1.6 million visits annually and an economic impact of $253 million.”
Fort Plain Mayor Guy Barton said, “It was a tremendous loss on June 28, 2013 when the storm destroyed the bridge over the Otsquago Creek. It’s a great asset in the community for people who use it for walking, biking and snowmobiling, and we’re glad to have it back.”
Funds to repair the bridge came from Governor Cuomo’s NY Works initiative. The project is expected to be eligible for reimbursement by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The Canalway Trail is a network of approximately 300 miles of multiple-use trails across upstate New York. In addition to being popular with walkers, bicyclists, and cross-country skiers who use the trail on a regular basis, the Fort Plain segment of the trail is on the route of Cycling the Erie Canal bike tour, an annual event sponsored by Parks & Trails New York that brings hundreds of cyclists across upstate New York. It is also a part of a regional snowmobile route.
The Otsquago Creek Bridge in Fort Plain was originally constructed at part of the West Shore Railroad. It was incorporated into the Erie Canalway Trail by State Parks in the 1990s.