During the summer months, Martin Daley and his family often take trips down to the Albany Corning Preserve. It’s a good place to explore and ride bikes with his kids.
“It was a good thing to do to kind of explore our backyard during the pandemic, because we really couldn’t travel,” Daley said.
One of the infrastructures he often rides by is the Livingston Avenue Bridge. The current structure was built in 1902, and is in need of a major overhaul. It’s something Daley has been pushing for over the last decade.
“There’s this remarkable once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore bicycle and pedestrian access across the Hudson River when this bridge is rebuilt,” Daley said.
In 2012, he started the Livingston Avenue Bridge Coalition to push for a pedestrian walkway as part of the new design. Earlier this month, his efforts began to pay off.
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced up to $400 million in the state budget will go toward replacing the century-old structure.
“Without the money on the table, it’s just a dream, right? We know that this needs to be replaced. We know that it makes sense. We know that it has public support,” Daley said.
According to Hochul, the new bridge will be able to support higher-speed passenger and freight rails, along with bicycle-pedestrian access. The project is part of a $32.8 billion, five-year capital plan to be administered by the state Department of Transportation.
"The adoption of this extraordinary capital plan sends a strong signal that New York is building back stronger than ever from the depths of the pandemic,” Hochul said in a statement on the infrastructure spending.
The Livingston Avenue Bridge has been described as a critical link in New York’s Empire Corridor, which currently allows just a single train to across at a time at 15 mph due to its condition. The existing bridge is owned by CSX, but leased to Amtrak through a long-term agreement.
A DOT spokesperson said right now, they’re in the environmental process for the project, and plan to seek public input this spring.
“The Department looks forward to delivering on the governor’s vision for infrastructure in the coming years,” said Bryan Viggiani, a DOT public information officer.
Daley said with the money invested into revitalizing the waterfronts of Albany and Rensselaer, connecting the two cities by foot and bike makes sense.
“I’m optimistic that this can be replaced on time, on budget and with the amenities that people want, and we can get a bridge that works for everybody,” Daley said.