Bridge rehabilitation project underway

By on July 15, 2019
The Route 259 bridge in Spencerport closed to traffic on July 9. Photo by Ray Kuntz Jr.

The Route 259 bridge in Spencerport closed to traffic on July 9. Photo by Ray Kuntz Jr.

Construction is now underway on the $16.3 million project that will rehabilitate two of the region’s most iconic Erie Canal lift bridges, the Union Street bridge in Spencerport and the Main Street bridge in Fairport. Canal boat traffic will not be impacted by the work, which will maintain and help preserve the historic bridges, both built in 1914.

“This region has the most canal lift bridges in the state and by investing in them we are protecting the vitality of downtown communities and helping to move the Finger Lakes Forward,” said New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez.

New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian Stratton said, “We are pleased to work with the DOT to preserve the rich history of the Erie Canal while improving safety for drivers, pedestrians, and boaters. I thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership in repairing these two century-old bridges that are well-travelled by locals, whether commuting to work or taking advantage of all the canals have to offer.”

The project cost is being shared by the two state agencies. Canal Corporation is responsible for maintaining and operating the lifting components of the canal bridges, while NYSDOT owns and maintains the bridges and state highways.

The bridges being repaired are on main thoroughfares in the hearts of their communities, providing critical links to local businesses and residences. While the lengthy closure is an inconvenience, the repairs will allow all legal vehicle loads to travel over the bridges.

The repairs will include the installation of high-strength galvanized steel to replace the flooring systems, updates to the lifting mechanisms and control towers, and improvements to the bridge railings and guide rail on the bridge approaches. The alignments and profiles of the bridges will not change, however the southern approach to the Route 259 lift bridge will be re-aligned to improve sight distance for vehicular traffic.

Access to businesses and sidewalks near the bridges will be maintained throughout the project’s duration. Sidewalks along the bridges will be closed to pedestrians.

Senator Rob Ortt said, “This $16.3 million investment into the Union Street and Main Street lift bridges demonstrates a commitment to preserving the history and character that makes our region so unique. Not only will these rehabilitation projects improve the functionality of the Union Street and Main Street lift bridges, but they will also increase the commercial and residential benefits associated with the surrounding communities. It’s vital that we stay proactive in our care for these Erie Canal lift bridges in order to ensure the history of these bridges – and the vitality of canal communities – continues to thrive.”

The Route 259 (Union Street) bridge in Spencerport closed to all vehicular and pedestrian traffic on Tuesday, July 9. A posted detour is in place during the bridge closure, guiding motorists using Route 104 (West Ridge Road), Route 261 (Manitou Road) and Route 31. Pedestrian traffic can use the adjacent Martha Street canal bridge crossing. Access to the Erie Canal Trailway will be maintained throughout the project.

The Route 250 (Main Street) bridge in Fairport is scheduled to close to traffic on September 4. Both bridges are scheduled to re-open late next year.

For real-time travel information, motorists should call 511 or visit or the mobile site at, New York State’s official traffic and travel information source.

Provided information

Extensive repairs are needed to improve safety. A great deal of rust can be seen on the underside of the Route 259 bridge.

Photos by Ray Kuntz Jr.

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