Part of ‘Reimagine the Canals’ initiative
See rendering of new bridge design here
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the selection of SHoP Architects as the lead designer of the Brockport Loop Pedestrian Bridge over the Erie Canal. Originally announced as part of the governor's State of the State address in January 2020, this new pedestrian bridge in the Village of Brockport represents the first large-scale infrastructure project to begin under the state's “Reimagine the Canals” initiative.
The board of trustees for the New York Power Authority, which owns and operates the New York Canal Corp. as a subsidiary, selected SHoP Architects and chose Ove Arup & Partners as engineer of record on the project.
"The Erie Canal has been a tremendous resource for New York for more than 200 years, and this project will utilize longstanding infrastructure to provide recreational amenities and greater connectivity for the Village of Brockport," Cuomo said. "The Brockport Loop Pedestrian Bridge builds upon the canal's iconic infrastructure and provides new opportunities for New Yorkers to get outdoors and take advantage of the beauty and countless activities along the canal and the Empire State Trail. This project is only one aspect of our efforts to Reimagine the Canals – a visionary plan to transform the historic waterway that will help grow tourism, spur economic activity for decades to come."
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said, "The Brockport Loop Pedestrian Bridge project will connect the SUNY Brockport community to the Empire State Trail, encouraging students and staff, residents and visitors alike to get outside and get active along the canal. The existing canal guard gate location is the ideal spot to locate this new crossing as it highlights historic infrastructure for new, creative uses."
Constructed adjacent to an existing Erie Canal guard gate, the new Brockport Loop Pedestrian Bridge will connect the SUNY Brockport campus to the Empire State Trail, a multiuse trail envisioned by the governor that connects New York City to Canada, and Albany to Buffalo. The trail, which parallels the Erie Canal, provides a centrally located recreational amenity for New Yorkers who want to experience the outdoors.
Once built, the bridge will also complement the Village of Brockport's recent installation of a kayak dock and plans for a nearby boathouse by serving as a viewing platform for anticipated rowing competitions on the canal.
A press release stated, “Most importantly, the Brockport Loop Pedestrian Bridge represents a new future for the Erie Canal by adaptively reusing historic infrastructure for community benefit today.”
The Brockport Loop Pedestrian Bridge is one of the economic development projects along the Erie Canal announced by Cuomo in his 2020 State of the State Reimagine the Canals initiative, a plan to invest in canalside communities and encourage economic activity and outdoor recreation throughout the state. NYPA has committed $300 million to the Reimagine the Canals program.
Funding for this bridge project will come from NYPA and a $2 million grant by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, which will be administered by the Rochester Area Community Foundation. To complete the Brockport Loop, additional funds will be secured to create a new trail along the SUNY campus side of the canal leading from the new pedestrian bridge to the nearby Smith Street bridge, which also will see future improvements.
NYPA selected SHoP Architects, a New York City-based New York State Small Business Enterprise firm, to leverage its experience with revitalizing aging urban infrastructure and further develop a context-sensitive conceptual design for the project. Ove Arup & Partners, a global firm with an office in New York City, has extensive experience with pedestrian bridge design and engineering, both in New York and around the world.
NYPA President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones said, "The Reimagine the Canals initiative is about adaptive reuse and reactivation of canal infrastructure, offering New Yorkers new ways to engage with canalside communities, and we are thrilled to take this next step forward in the implementation of Gov. Cuomo's vision for the future of the Erie Canal. SHoP's submission employs contemporary design to highlight and complement the historic infrastructure of the canal, and we are pleased to see the design phase of this exciting project move ahead."
Brian U. Stratton, director of the New York State Canal Corp., said, "In a time when New Yorkers are increasingly looking toward the outdoors, and in particular toward the canal and the Empire State Trail, for opportunities to enjoy the best of our state while remaining socially distanced, this project represents a tremendous step forward toward showcasing the innumerable ways we can enjoy local, outdoor recreation along the state's iconic canals."
Village of Brockport Mayor Margay Blackman said, "The Village of Brockport is excited about the Brockport Loop and the pedestrian bridge that is the anchor to the entire project. The state-of-the-art pedestrian bridge not only underscores the strong partnership between SUNY Brockport and the village, but literally links the college directly to the village via the Erie Canal. The bridge itself will provide a platform for viewing future regattas, and a place to safely sit and experience activity on the canal. As the architectural anchor for a much larger project (the loop), the pedestrian bridge represents an economic stimulus to completing a literal loop connecting the college and the village to the Empire State Trail."
SUNY Brockport President Heidi Macpherson said, "SUNY Brockport is so pleased that progress is continuing on the Brockport Loop Pedestrian Bridge. As a college engaged with our community, we know that connecting the campus to the Empire State Trail will benefit both the campus and the Village, so I thank Gov. Cuomo, NYPA and the Canal Corp. for their vision."
Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation President and CEO David Egner said, "The Reimagine the Canals initiative is a great example of how the historic Erie Canal can be redeveloped across the state to become a more vital force for boosting local economies, inspiring new forms of recreation and tourism, and strengthening environmental resiliency. The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation is pleased to partner with the New York Power Authority, Village of Brockport, College of Brockport (SUNY) and the Rochester Area Community Foundation to support the Brockport Loop, allowing for connections to the many recreational, cultural and economic assets in the Brockport community along the Empire State Trail."
Construction of the Brockport Loop Pedestrian Bridge will begin in 2023. For more information about the Reimagine the Canals initiative, visit here.