Posts Tagged ‘Letchworth State Park’

NS Dedicates Genesee Arch Bridge

May 25, 2018

New York State and Norfolk Southern officials dedicated a new bridge on the Southern Tier line this week that spans the Genesee River gorge in Letchworth State Park.

The new steel arch bridge cost $75 million and is 963 feet in length. It replaces a distinctive trestle built by the Erie Railroad in 1875.

The new bridge, which has been named the Genesee Arch Bridge, spans a 235-foot deep gorge sometimes known as the Grand Canyon of the East.

NS officials said that the bridge will expand freight rail capacity and economic opportunities for businesses and communities across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions.

The new bridge was built through a public-private partnership. It replaced the single-track Portageville Bridge, whose restricted train speeds and railcar weights had  NS said, “become a major transportation bottleneck.”

NS said the new structure will be able to handle industry-standard 286,000 pounds gross rail load.

The previous bridge was limited to railcar weights of 273,000 pounds.

“Trains crossing the new bridge are operating at up to 30 mph with fully loaded cars,” NS officials said.

The bridge actually opened in December 2017 and was built 75 feet south of the former bridge.

New York State contributed $15.5 million for design and construction work, including a $2 million grant from the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council and $13.5 million in state and federal funds through the New York State Department of Transportation. NS paid $59.5 million for the project.

NS also funded improvements of trails and public access to Letchworth State Park and preserved portions of the old bridge, which has been dismantled, for use in historical exhibits.

NS Kicks off NY Bridge Replacement Project

October 30, 2015

Work to replace the former Erie Railroad bridge over the Genesee River Gorge in Letchworth State Park in New York began Thursday with a ground-breaking ceremony.

Norfolk Southern, which owns the Southern Tier route, plans to construct a $70 million single-track steel arch span over the gorge.

The bridge will be 900 feet in length and positioned 75 feet south of the current iron truss bridge.

As part of the project, the railroad will install 1,200 feet of new track on each side of the gorge to align the tracks.

The new span will take three years to construct and is being built in part with public funding.

The project budget includes $3 million in design costs and $2.5 million in construction costs from the New York Department of Transportation; a $2 million grant from the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council; and a $10 million grant from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration. The remaining funding will come from NS.

“This successful public-private partnership underscores the strong confidence we all have in the ongoing potential of the Southern Tier,” said NS Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer James Squires. “Norfolk Southern has a robust bridge program, and the new Portageville Bridge will be a testament to today’s expert engineers and the craftsmanship of today’s railroaders.”

Iconic Southern Tier Rail Bridge to be Replaced

January 4, 2015

An iconic bridge on the Southern Tier route will be replaced soon after the Federal Highway Administration approved the design and construction of the replacement span.

The Portageville Viaduct over the Genesee River on the former Erie Railroad has been a favorite of photographers almost since it was built in the 1870s. It features waterfalls crashing beneath it.

Located in Letchworth State Park, the bridge soars about 245 feet above the river gorge. The wrought iron viaduct is 820 feet long and sits on six steel towers constructed in 1875.

Three spans of pin-locked deck trusses and 10 spans of deck plate girders were built in 1903.

The bridge is at milepost SR 361.66 in the Town of Portage and the Town of Genesee Falls. It will be removed once the new bridge is completed in three years.

Norfolk Southern acquired the Southern Tier route in 1999 as part of the Conrail breakup.

Construction of the new bridge will begin this year with the new span located just south of the existing bridge.

The New York Department of Transportation is paying $3 million in design costs and landed secured $12.5 million in state and federal funds for construction. The balance will be provided by Norfolk Southern.

The bridge was been labeled as one of the 10 most significant rail bottlenecks in New York.

Once completed, trains on the bridge will operate at Federal Railroad Administration Class 4 speeds. NS also expects to reduce ongoing maintenance efforts and costs.