Historic Wurts Street Bridge reopens after $60 million rehabilitation, featuring modern enhancements and pedestrian-friendly upgrades

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New York Construction Report staff writer

Work is complete on a project that rehabilitated the historic Kingston-Port Ewen Suspension Bridge – also known as the Wurts Street Bridge – re-establishing a connector that has been closed since 2020.

Construction crews used more than 700 tons of U.S.-made steel to stabilize and strengthen the 103-year-old structure, enhancing public safety and fully restoring the bridge’s stunning grandeur. New, wider sidewalks on the bridge will also make it easier for pedestrians to take in the scenic views of the Rondout Creek below, providing a peaceful respite from the stresses of daily life and expanding recreational opportunities for hikers and bicyclists.

Originally built in 1921, the Wurts Street Bridge is a popular route for travel between the City of Kingston and the Hamlet of Port Ewen in the Town of Esopus, Ulster County. The bridge – one of the first suspension bridges built in the Hudson Valley – is unusual in that its two approaches and its towers rest at different elevations, with a vertical difference of 20 feet.

The rehabilitation, which cost an estimated $60 million, included the installation of a new, continuous bridge deck and supporting trusses that negate the need for deck joints and will reduce long-term maintenance costs.

Additional deteriorated steel elements were replaced throughout the structure, improving stability and allowing the bridge to reclaim its original 20-ton weight limit. Guide rails, sidewalks, granite curbs and suspender ropes and cables were also repaired or replaced, and new paint was added to further lessen the need for annual maintenance.

Modern climate control systems were installed inside the enclosed chambers where the main cables are anchored to control moisture and prevent corrosion; and a decorative lighting system that can be adapted to celebrate special events and holidays was installed on the bridge’s exterior. Systems will be monitored and controlled by NYSDOT operators at the nearby Hudson Valley Transportation Management Center.

A time capsule featuring local art pieces, New York State Department of Transportation memorabilia and various other items indicative of the region was also placed within the structure, replacing one that was unearthed during construction. Unfortunately, the original capsule had been breached and its contents eroded beyond recognition by the elements.

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