ALBANY — The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is asking the nearly 600,000 annual visitors to the Walkway to pardon our appearance and temporary inconveniences through the spring of 2019 as crews work hard to complete the park transformation. With the recent opening of the new 3,500 square foot Ulster Welcome Center featuring amphitheater seating, improved visitor circulation and plaza improvements, construction is also well underway on the new Dutchess Welcome Center as are new upgrades to the 21-story Walkway elevator.
Dutchess Welcome Center – Set to be Complete Spring 2019
The new 1,800 square foot Dutchess Welcome Center will feature, outdoor seating patio, dog friendly water fountain, stair access to Orchard Place, bike racks, relocated signage, landscaping and new comfort facilities. The project is being funded in partnership with the not-for profit Walkway over the Hudson friends group. View the new Welcome Center here.
Walkway Elevator – Set to be Complete Spring 2019
The Walkway elevator is a one-of–kind elevator in the state park system and recently State Parks and its contractors have identified newer technology, not previously available during construction of the elevator, that is expected to improve reliability and extend seasonal usage deeper into the fall and earlier in the spring.
The current wireless based communication system will be switched out with an encased energy chain upgrade that will house several hardwired systems all-in-one. The energy chain will confine control, electrical and communication wires and provide the flexibility to allow free movement in a north and south direction for the full 212 feet. Due to its unique open-air design, the current wireless-based communications system was discovered to be sensitive to ever-changing weather conditions. View the new energy chain system here. The hardwire energy chain conversion is covered in the existing annual maintenance agreement.
Call 845-834-3641 for updates on the operating schedule of the elevator.
Annual deck maintenance will also be taking place while the other projects are underway, although this will only require small sections of the Walkway to be inaccessible for brief periods of time.
Since 2011 the NY Parks 2020 initiative has invested $14.2 million into the Walkway highlighted by the two welcome centers on each side.
In October 2009, the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park opened. The park provides access to the Hudson River’s breathtaking landscape for pedestrians, hikers, joggers, bicyclists, and people with disabilities. The bridge deck stands 212 feet above the river’s surface and is 6,768 feet (1.28 miles) long, making it the longest, elevated pedestrian bridge in the world.
The Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge was built in the late 19th century to link New York and New England to an extensive, nationwide railway network. For decades, it was a major rail corridor for both freight and passengers.
After a fire in 1974, the bridge was abandoned and sat for decades as an orphaned relic. The park was made possible due to the unwavering commitment of the community, who, through a non-profit organization called Walkway Over the Hudson, forged a public-private partnership involving the State of New York, the federal government, neighboring municipalities, private corporations and other not for profit groups. The amazing result of this partnership is Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, one of the Hudson Valley’s top attractions.