December 21, 2022
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Announces Major Milestone in Transformative Livingston Avenue Bridge Replacement Project in Albany and Rensselaer

Governor Hochul Announces Major Milestone in Transformative Livingston Avenue Bridge Replacement Project in Albany and Rensselaer

Project to Replace Significant Passenger Rail Crossing with Modern Structure that Includes Bicycle and Pedestrian Shared Use Path on Schedule to Break Ground in 2023

Renderings Available Here

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a major milestone in the transformative project to replace the Livingston Avenue Railroad Bridge in Albany and Rensselaer. The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a "Finding of No Significant Impact," a key development that signals the end of the formal environmental review process and clears the way for the State Department of Transportation to advance final design for a new, state-of-the-art Hudson River crossing that will improve rail travel across the Empire Corridor, better serve maritime traffic and provide much-needed access across the Hudson River and the Empire State Trail for bicyclists and pedestrians. Construction is expected to begin by the end of 2023.

"The antiquated Livingston Avenue Bridge has caused hardship for rail travelers in New York and throughout the Northeast for far too long," Governor Hochul said. "Replacing this relic of the 19th Century is a signature part of our commitment to modernizing New York's infrastructure and I commend the Federal Railroad Administration for completing review of this project swiftly, which will not only benefit people who ride the rails but also bicyclists and pedestrians."

Replacement of the Livingston Avenue Bridge was among the key projects cited by Governor Hochul in the 2022 State of the State Address as part an aggressive agenda to modernize New York State's aging infrastructure to better connect communities, promote economic growth and improve resiliency. The $32.8 billion DOT capital plan proposed by Governor Hochul and adopted by the State Legislature includes funding to replace the existing bridge with a modern structure capable of supporting higher-speed passenger rail, heavier freight trains, maritime vessels, and bicycle-pedestrian access across the Hudson River.

Issuance of the "Finding of No Significant Impact," or FONSI, by the FRA concludes the federal environmental review process, allows the state DOT to similarly complete the review initiated under New York's State Environmental Quality Review Act, and move forward with final design and construction. The DOT hosted virtual and in-person public hearings on the project during the spring, which about 150 people attended. The Environmental Assessment for the project is available here.

The Livingston Avenue Railroad Bridge was built over the Hudson River in the 19th century. It connects Rensselaer and Albany by rail and provides a critical path for passenger rail service from New York City to Western NY. Deterioration of the current structure, owned by CSX and leased to Amtrak, limits trains crossing to one at a time at speeds of 15 MPH. The new bridge will accommodate improved passenger service while, at the same time, improving access to the Albany and Rensselaer waterfronts and enhancing quality of life on both sides of the river. It will also provide a new connection to the landmark Empire State Trail, which spans 750 miles and runs from New York City through the Hudson and Champlain Valleys to Canada, and from Albany to Buffalo along the Erie Canal.

The current movable swing bridge would be replaced with a new lift-type bridge which would bring the structure up to modern standards for height, width and speeds for passenger and freight trains and more reliably accommodate marine traffic using the Hudson River. The new bridge will be located south of the existing bridge on a parallel alignment and would carry two railroad tracks. The approach track work will include improvements to the triangular junction of rail tracks on the Rensselaer side to facilitate train turning movements and the rehabilitation and reconfiguration of the rail bridges over Water and Centre Streets on the Albany side. The new bridge will also include a separated shared use path connecting to the Albany Skyway and Empire State Trail to the City of Rensselaer.

Completion of the new bridge, which is expected by the end of 2026, will build on the success of previous projects in and around the City of Albany, including the Albany Skyway, which transformed an underutilized exit ramp from northbound Interstate 787 into an elevated park that connected the city's downtown to the Hudson River; and the landmark Empire State Trail.

New York Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, "Replacement of The Livingston Avenue Bridge will be a historic achievement that will improve passenger and freight rail service across the Northeast and demonstrate, yet again, that no state is doing more to rebuild its critical infrastructure in ways that benefit communities big and small than New York State under the leadership of Governor Hochul.

Senator Charles Schumer said, "This is another significant step to our shared goal of a new Livingston Avenue Bridge that will ensure uninterrupted rail and marine traffic for generations to come, while providing game changing bike and pedestrian access that will link together our riverfront trail systems. I commend my friend, Governor Hochul on her leadership on this project. This decades long goal is within our grasp."

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, "I've long advocated for rail improvements in New York, and a major step in ensuring reliable trains in the Capital Region is replacing the Livingston Avenue Bridge. This project will create jobs, rebuild a critical piece of infrastructure, and better connect New Yorkers, and I will keep working to make sure New York gets all the federal investments in rail we need."

Representative Paul Tonko said, "I have long supported the Livingston Avenue Railroad Bridge project that will unite our communities while strengthening our economy and providing key services to residents across the Capital Region. Today's announcement is a major milestone in that ongoing push. My thanks to all whose efforts are driving forward this vital project and whose dedication continue to make our region a better place."

State Senator Neil Breslin said, "With the news that the Environmental Review Process has concluded and the Federal railroad Administration has found that there is no significant impact we are now one step closer to seeing this transformational infrastructure project come to fruition. I thank Governor Hochul and the NYS Department of Transportation for their commitment to this project that will benefit drivers, pedestrians and cyclists alike."

Assemblymember John T. McDonald III said, "This announcement is a major step forward in the plan to replace the Livingston Avenue Railroad Bridge in Albany and Rensselaer. The project will fortify the critical link for Passenger Rail Service in New York State while also providing the opportunity to enhance connections to the Albany and Rensselaer riverfronts for pedestrians and bicyclists. I thank Governor Hochul and the NYS Department of Transportation for their continued commitment to rebuilding New York State's critical infrastructure."

Assemblymember Patricia Fahy said, "The Livingston Avenue Bridge replacement project holds an immense amount of promise for the Capital Region on both sides of the mighty Hudson. News today that this project continues to move forward is welcomed and stands to usher in a new era of cross-river connectivity between our growing riverfront communities, including downtown Albany. As we seek to build more multi-modal, walkable communities across Upstate New York and the Capital Region, projects that utilize existing infrastructure and improve quality of life such as the Livingston Ave. bridge are vital. I look forward to seeing continued progress on this project and commend the range of stakeholders working diligently to bring it to fruition."

Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said, "Today is another important step in the replacement of the Livingston Avenue Bridge, a key piece of infrastructure that has become a relic of the past after far too many years of neglect. I want to thank Governor Hochul for quickly making this initiative a priority, one that will dramatically improve rail transit, expand recreational opportunities with a multi-use path, and boost our local and regional economy. By soliciting public input and conducting a proper environmental review, I'm happy that this project is not only getting done, but getting done right."

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, "Today's milestone brings us another step closer to the long-awaited replacement of the Livingston Avenue Railroad Bridge. The $400 million commitment by Governor Kathy Hochul, coupled with the $16 billion secured by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for Amtrak infrastructure repairs nationwide, will help complete this shovel-ready project that will not only revitalize the bridge next to the ninth-busiest train station in the nation, but will create a pedestrian and bicycle friendly path across the Hudson River - further connecting Albany and our Riverfront with points east. I thank Governor Hochul and NYS Department of Transportation Commissioner Dominguez for their leadership, and Federal Railroad Administration for their finding that advances the replacement process forward."

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474 - 8418
New York City: (212) 681 - 4640


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