Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Spanning the divide, bridges connect. Let us, too, connect during this joyful holiday season.

Bridges, ranging from modest designs to engineering feats, provide a community strength.  They functionally build our hometowns, link regions, traverse historic waterways and lead us into unchartered places. 

Just as bridges connect us in powerful fashion, so, too, do human experiences and relationships.  Whether by developing friendships, strengthening family ties or celebrating the growing richness of our nation's mosaic, we deepen our self-worth and enhance our quality of life.

During this season, I hope you author bountiful memories, as you gather with family and friends and connect in special ways to share the holiday spirit.

Wishing you a year of peace, love and soulful connections!

Paul

112th Street Bridge crosses the Hudson River, connecting Van Schaick Island in the city of Cohoes with the Lansingburgh neighborhood of Troy.  The original bridge was built in 1922, and today’s version was built in 1996.

The Van Schaick Mansion was built circa 1735 on the island. During the American Revolution, it served as a military headquarters and was inhabited by Generals Schuyler, Gates, Poor, St. Clair and Colonels Morgan, Gansevoort and Arnold while formulating the plans for the battle of Saratoga.  In the days leading up to the battle some 5,000 Continental soldiers were garrisoned around the mansion.  For information on visiting the mansion, visit the institution's website here.

The Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook is a park over the Mohawk River, connecting the North and South sides of Amsterdam while celebrating its heritage. It features numerous trees and flower plantings, as well as local historical and cultural information engraved into the decking and on plaques along the railings. It is the first bridge spanning over water to include live trees planted on its surface. Find out more about this new attraction here.

The Historic Ruhle Road Bridge in the town of Malta spans the Ballston Creek, providing access to both the Zim Smith Trail and the Shenantaha Creek Park  A lenticular truss bridge open only to non-motorized vehicles and pedestrians, the Ruhle Road bridge was added to the State and National Registers of Historical Places in 2004.  Originally one of hundreds of lenticular spans built by the Berlin Iron Bridge Company, this span is one of only 13 remaining in New York State.

Erie Canal Lock 9 is a combination lock, dam, and truss bridge carrying State Route 103 over the Mohawk River/Erie Canal. Route 103 is considered the shortest State Route in New York, connecting Route 5 in the town of Glenville and Route 5S in Rotterdam Junction.  Learn more about the Erie Canal here.

The Schoharie Creek Aqueduct spans Schoharie Creek south of its confluence with the Mohawk River, and between locks No. 30 and No. 31. Consisting of 14 stone arches for the towing path and a timber trunk for the boat channel, and 624 feet 3 inches in length, it was designed in part by John B. Jervis and built by Otis Eddy. It replaced the slackwater crossing of the creek afforded by a series of dams, all of which proved inadequate to cope with the annual flooding of the creek. Construction of the aqueduct was begun in 1839 and completed in 1841, and it was put into service in 1845. A new timber trunk was built in 1855 and again in 1873.

The aqueduct is now only partially intact -- all but the nine arches at the southwest end were demolished in 1915 to reduce impedance to stream flow when the canal was abandoned upon completion of the Barge Canal. Since that time, due to collapse, the number of arches has been reduced to six, the latest collapse occurring on August 16, 1998.

The Route 5S Bridge and the New York State Thruway Bridge - both of these bridges span the Schoharie Creek in the town of Florida. Originally built as a 2 track railroad bridge on the New York, West Shore & Buffalo Railroad, the Route 5S bridge is a Baltimore through truss bridge, abandoned in 1981. The interstate traffic was detoured over the current Route 5S bridge, and Route 5S was moved over to the railroad bridge, which was converted for emergency highway use. In December of 1987 the new interstate bridge was completed, and Route 5S traffic returned to its original bridge, and the old railway bridge became part of the Canalway trail.  You can learn about the Erie Canalway Trail at the Parks & Trails New York website.

The Thaddeus Koscuiszko Bridge, known locally as the Twin Bridges, spans the Mohawk River, carrying Interstate 87 between the towns of Colonie and Halfmoon. Each bridge carries three lanes of traffic. The steel arch bridge was opened in 1959 as part of the Adirondack Northway. Kosciuszko was a military engineer born in Poland who arrived in the American colonies in 1776.  Volunteering his services to the patriot cause, Kosciuszko designed successful military fortifications during the American Revolution, notably at Saratoga and West Point. You can learn more here

Cohoes Falls, also known as the Great Falls of the Mohawk, is one of the largest waterfalls east of the Rocky Mountains. The Mohawk River plunges nearly a hundred feet here, a navigation obstacle to early explorers, before emptying into the Hudson River. The falls have been regarded as a landmark, a sacred site, a scenic wonder and a source of power for generations. The four-acre Falls View Park in Cohoes offers a scenic view of the Falls that spans the Mohawk River between Cohoes and Waterford. Information on the park can be found here.

Crossing Interstate 787, the Hudson River Way Pedestrian Bridge links Broadway in downtown Albany with the Corning Preserve on the bank of the Hudson River. The bridge not only provides physical access, but serves as a virtual outdoor museum to celebrate the community's historic link to the Hudson River.   Learn more at here.

The Green Island Bridge crosses the Hudson River, connecting Green Island with Troy. It opened September 12, 1981, replacing the bridge that collapsed in March of 1977.  The Green Island Bridge is a girder bridge with a vertical lift span. 

Jackson's Garden on the Union College campus in Schenectady is the oldest cultivated garden on an American college campus.  Located on the north side of campus, the garden was started in the 1830’s by Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy Isaac Jackson at the encouragement of Eliphalet Nott.  The placement of a garden in this area had also been suggested by Joseph Jacques Ramee in his original design of the college. Read more here.

The Rexford Bridge crosses the Mohawk River, carrying Route 146 between Rexford and Niskayuna.  Near the bridge are the remains of the 1842 Erie Canal Aqueduct.  The large arches that supported the towpath can be seen from the Mohawk-Hudson Bike Hike Trail.  More information and a trail map can be viewed here.

Crossing the Potomac River - the river that once divided our country - at Washington, D.C., the Arlington Memorial Bridge symbolically links North and South in its alignment between the Lincoln Memorial and the Robert E. Lee Memorial.  After the Lee family vacated the estate at the onset of the Civil War, the property became a military burial location. Arlington National Cemetery has evolved to a national shrine to those who have honorably served our Nation during times of war – including every military conflict in American history – and during times of peace. Learn more here.