Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that construction on the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook, a pedestrian bridge over the Erie Canal that connects the City of Amsterdams north and south sides, has begun. Construction on the bridge will create approximately 300 jobs, and is designed to create a park-like environment over the river for visitors to enjoy.
Bridging the Erie Canal with a pedestrian walkway is a tremendous way to increase tourism activity and infuse a new energy into the regional economy, Governor Cuomo said. Once completed, this project will offer an unparalleled connection between the north and south sides of Amsterdam, which will make exploring the best of the citys amenities and attractions easier than ever. I am excited that this project is taking shape and look forward to seeing its impact on the Upstate economy well into the future.
Originally approved as part of 2005s statewide ballot referendum, The Rebuild and Renew New York Transportation Bond Act, the $16.5 million project will help support the citys economy by connecting the south sides neighborhoods and Erie Canalway Trail with Riverlink Park and downtown Amsterdam on the north side. Once complete, the area will be transformed into a unique recreational destination sure to draw both boaters and landside tourists looking to explore historic Amsterdam and enjoy the local amenities.
Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation Chairman Howard P. Milstein said, The Mohawk Valley and City of Amsterdam are both rich in the history and amenities that are enjoyed by both tourists and boaters alike. By constructing the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook, we are not only welcoming visitors to the great City of Amsterdam, but also giving them a preview of whats in store as they continue along the historic Erie Canal.
Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas J. Madison said, The Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook will be the perfect way to welcome tourists and boaters to the region. This project gives people who might have just passed through a reason to stop in Amsterdam and experience all that both shores of the city have to offer before continuing their journey on the Canal.
In 2008, after a series of public hearings and community visioning sessions, the Canal Corporation finalized a design for the 500 foot steel multigirder bridge. The 30 foot wide concrete deck will serve as home to a unique Park-Over-the River concept integrating the walkway with planters, landscape lighting, railings, benches and other public amenities. Concrete surfaced pedestrian trails, decorative retaining walls and plantings will be incorporated on both bridge approaches creating a continuous park-like environment.
Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, In 2005, the voters voiced their support for this project and the Canal Corporation is proud to be taking the lead. The Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook and its appeal to visitors and residents alike will give the City of Amsterdam the opportunity to both capitalize upon and grow the Canals annual $380 million economic impact.
Kubricky Construction of Wilton, NY, who was awarded the contract, is expected to finish construction of the bridge by late 2015 with landscaping and additional aesthetics to be completed in early 2016. Once complete, the Canal Corporation will own the bridge and be responsible for all capital improvements, while the City of Amsterdam will be responsible for general maintenance and upkeep.
Congressman Paul Tonko said, Today, we celebrate the construction a vital and influential link that will celebrate and define Amsterdam and the Mohawk Valley for years to come. This groundbreaking marks the culmination of nearly a decade of planning, visioning, designing and dreaming that has brought us to a final concept that will span the historic Mohawk River and reconnect two of Amsterdams oldest neighborhoods. The Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook will transform the Mohawk Valley through bringing much needed economic development opportunities, increased tourism dollars and a greater connection among our neighborhoods. I thank Brian Stratton and the staff at the Canal Corporation for their tireless work to make this concept a reality and Mayor Thane for her vision and steadfast support of this and many other projects that define and celebrate our city.
Amsterdam Mayor Anne M. Thane said, This marks a triumph not only for the City of Amsterdam, but for the Mohawk Valley Region and NY State as a whole. Having personally been involved as a volunteer and city official in the gratifying but monumental task of waterfront revitalization for 15 years, I am especially proud of this day. So many have worked so hard to see this project realized. I know I speak for them when I say how grateful we all are to see shovels in the ground and footings in the river. We are very excited and pleased to see this transformational project well on its way to laying a path to our future as a vital Mohawk River community of the 21st century.
Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort said, Hopefully, this project can be one part of the downtown revitalization in Amsterdam, increasing tourism and bringing people into the County."
State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said, Im excited that work is getting underway on a tremendous new recreational resource that will encourage people to explore and enjoy the Mohawk Valleys beautiful network of parks, trails and waterfront."
Director of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Bob Radliff said, Because our waterways and trails connect us, investments made by one community contribute to the entire canal corridor, said. Theres so much potential for this project to become a win-win for residence of Amsterdam and people from across the state and around the world who visit the Erie Canal.
Executive Director of Parks & Trails New York Robin Dropkin said, "Parks & Trails New York applauds the Canal Corporation and the City of Amsterdam for providing this connection between downtown Amsterdam and the Erie Canalway Trail. The thousands of residents and visitors who use the Trail each year will be given new opportunities to discover Amsterdams rich culture and history, and to enjoy the beauty of the Mohawk Valley in a unique setting.