Poughkeepsie Bridge - Walkway Over the Hudson

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Poughkeepsie Bridge - Walkway Over the Hudson

Postby railtrailbiker » Mon Apr 12, 2004 5:31 pm

A community organization wants to awaken a sleeping giant in Dutchess County.


The group, Walkway over the Hudson, wants to turn the abandoned railroad bridge that runs from the City of Poughkeepsie, over the Hudson River to the Town of Lloyd in Ulster County, into a structure everybody can use and enjoy.

The bridge burned in a fire in 1974, and has not been used since. The group wants to convert the railroad bridge into a thoroughfare for pedestrians and bicyclists.

According to Bill Keating, a Millbrook resident, and Walkway over the Hudson board member, the railroad bridge is 212 feet high and 6,767 feet long.

The not-for-profit organization owns the bridge, Keating said, and it commands a magnificent view of the Hudson River and Hudson River Valley.

http://www.midhudsoncentral.com/site/ne ... 1705&rfi=6
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Postby DutchRailnut » Mon Apr 12, 2004 6:40 pm

wow they have proclained this Idea for 15 years now and are not one foot closer to realizing it.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Postby Otto Vondrak » Mon Apr 12, 2004 6:55 pm

Some new people are now in charge. We'll see what happens.

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Postby DutchRailnut » Mon Apr 12, 2004 7:58 pm

Otto unless they are Donald Trump - King Feisal - Billy Gates the project will be underfunded by 99%
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Postby scottychaos » Mon Apr 12, 2004 8:53 pm

I actually got to walk out on the bridge! about 10 years ago..
I went to college at New Paltz and was in the area when this project began back in the early 90's..
I think it was around 1993 or '94 that I was able to walk about halfway out..(as far as they got..and have ever got I believe)
im glad I got to then, because with the luck that group has had, I might never get the chance again! :(
I was on their mailing list for years, and used to get their newsletter thing even now and then, but I havent seen one in many years now..
I wish them luck, and I do hope they can eventually make it happen!
but im not holding my breath.. :(

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Postby roee » Mon Apr 12, 2004 8:58 pm

I hope the new leadership of this group will do what needs to be done to get this walkway going. I'd love to be able to walk or ride my bike over the bridge. I grew up in Poughkeepsie and the only thing I've ever seen this bridge used for is to display the American flag and a Christmas Tree shaped light display. Sepe who ran it before refused goverment funding, and now that times are as tight as they are, I'd say there is little chance of getting goverment funding anytime in the very near future.

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Postby DutchRailnut » Mon Apr 12, 2004 9:30 pm

its not just a walkway , if its to be open to public that means engineering studies / enviromental impact study/ risk study etc. were talking multi Million Dolars here.
and with any wind the bridge would need to be closed. Don't get your bikes and shoes ready yet, it won't happen.
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Postby Otto Vondrak » Mon Apr 12, 2004 11:45 pm

But it did happen in the past. Money in the form of government grants had been offered, politicians lent support... but the fellow who was running the group thought that the money offered should go to cancer research (or something) instead of his bridge project. He was finally voted out, and people with a broader sense of the world were voted in. People connected to local government and business.

Trains will never run over that bridge again, but we might in the next couple of years.

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Postby roee » Tue Apr 13, 2004 3:00 pm

exactly otto.. he though if he didn't take the money it would help feed the homeless or help poor kids, but I think most of us know that's not the way the game works. I think we all know that for the bridge to be open to foot traffic, a fair bit of work, and even more amount of money would be required to make that happen. I for one would love to see it open.
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Postby rhallock » Mon Apr 26, 2004 11:06 pm

I was involved with the bridge group for a while before family resposibilities forced me to give up active participation. I would just like to point out some of the positive things which have been accomplished over the years. Since I am no longer active, some of my information may not be up to date, but it is the best info I have right now.
First, the bridge and the land under it have been brought under single local ownership. Before, the bridge was "owned" by a mysterious person in Pennsylvania who had "bought" it for a dollar, never paid taxes or maintained it in any way whatever.
Second, navigation lights have been placed on the bridge again. Before, this was the major problem, since it had been a hazard to river traffic. The Coast Guard was hell bent to have it torn down, and it would have been, except that no one wanted the responsibility to do that. The lights (solar powered) have not been an unqualified success but that is being addressed
Third, the property under the bridge has been cleaned up and parts of it are being used as community gardens by local residents. Before, this land was a jungle of overgrowth and a complete eyesore.
Fourth, as has been noted, a solid walkway has been built part way over the river and a security system installed to keep out trespassers. Before, every nut case had free access to it.
Fifth, the bridge project has been brought to the public's attention by having a sales booth at events, by sponsoring festivals, and by newspaper coverage. Positive momentum has been started that should create enough pressure to keep it going to fruition.
In conclusion, I would like to add that without Mr. Sepe it is likely that none of this would have happened. At a time when no one, public or private, was doing ANYTHING about the bridge, he stepped up and made things happen. Anyone else could have, but nobody else did. So I do get a bit perturbed when I hear people bad-mouthing him and only stressing the negative. Where were they when they could have had their chance to do something positive? Talk is cheap. Regardless of what happens, I will always respect him for giving this project his all. Did I agree with everything he wanted to do? No, but I wasn't putting it all on the line like he did either, so I swallowed my pride and did what I could, and I have the satisfaction of knowing that I have done some good, like so many others.
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Postby Schooltrain » Tue Apr 27, 2004 7:32 am

I have seen the POK Bridge and have ALWAYS wanted to be able to ride, walk, crawl, or whatever other means of motive oower was available, across it. From what I have read on other posts, this was part of the old New Haven road to Maybrook (?) and that ROW is, for the most part, abandoned and closed to use on the Dutchess County side. It just makes no sense that the county and, perhaps, DEC would not work cooperatively to develop the old ROW as a recreational trail and tie in on the western end with the bridge. I understand that the ROW at the west end of the bridge is owned by Central Hudson and that would limit, or totally preclude, access from that side.

On a smaller scale, to be sure, Oswego managed to create a recreational and commercial use for the former New York Central bridge over the Oswego River. The initial piece involved a concrete deck being laid on top and the extension of a water line to a power producer east of the city. For a while that was the extent of the work, but within the past two or three years, the city has completed work on pedestrian access leading up to the bridge and created a Rail-Trail project.

My point is that sometimes it takes someone with vision and it takes a "commercial" purpose to get things accomplished. Even in today's tight times, a project such as this could probably qualify for economic development grants if the right people at the right levels of government became involved and supportive.
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Postby railtrailbiker » Tue Apr 27, 2004 2:24 pm

Just to clarify, there is no active RR ROW on the bridge's western end either. The ROW there was also abandoned.

A rail trail (the Hudson Valley Rail Trail) occupies a 5-mile segment near the bridge, with plans to finish construction right up to the bridge in the very near future.

http://www.traillink.com/TL_Active_Page ... FLength%3D
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Postby Idiot Railfan » Tue Apr 27, 2004 9:26 pm

Please indulge an idiotic question from a Jersey Boy. I can remember back to the time in 1974 when the bridge burned and hearing from my dad's co-workers on the Erie Lackawanna that the closing of the bridge was (a) the death knell for the Maybrook Yard and all the E-L jobs relating to it, and (b) deliberately set by the Penn Central in a desparate attempt to squeeze revenue by routing traffic through an all PC route through Albany. Time has pretty much proven both prognostications to be true.

Now, here is my question: If the bridge "burned" in 1974, how is it possible 30 years later that it could still be reopend for recreational use? What actually burned? I have seen this bridge from a distance many times, and it looks intact, but then I look intact from a distance, too. Was there a wood portion to the bridge? And if it is still standing 30 years later and available--in theory--for use, was it really that far gone in 1974 that it could not be repaired? Yes, I know it was owned by the bankrupt Penn Central during a recession when government assistance to railroads was unheard of.

But in general, what's the deal with this bridge?

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Postby railtrailbiker » Tue Apr 27, 2004 9:44 pm

Perhaps it's stable enough to support bicycle/pedestrian traffic, but not the weight of a freight train?

Check this out:

http://catskillarchive.com/rrextra/pbpj741.Html
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Postby DutchRailnut » Tue Apr 27, 2004 9:46 pm

The main span did not burn that bad but the apon bridges over the Pougkeepsie shore see :
http://www.catskillarchive.com/rrextra/pbpage.Html
most of these smaller bridges are buckled.
the link above shows pictures during and after the fire.
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