Construction Begins on Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park Waterfront Elevator

251295_10152151844140005_1187066395_nThe New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Walkway Over the Hudson this week announced construction has begun on a new 21-story steel elevator tower that will connect the elevated Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park to the Poughkeepsie waterfront, further establishing the park as the centerpiece of a world-class network of parks and trails.

“We’re excited that work is getting underway on this new feature of Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park,” State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said. “The elevator will help encourage the Walkway’s thousands of visitors to further explore and enjoy the Mid-Hudson Valley’s beautiful network of parks, trails and waterfront.”

Walkway Over the Hudson, Executive Director Elizabeth Waldstein-Hart said: “The Walkway Waterfront Elevator is the culmination of many years of working closely with our partners in state, county, and local government. The Waterfront elevator is likely to become a destination unto itself and provide an important nexus between Poughkeepsie’s developing waterfront and our dynamic new trail system connecting Dutchess and Ulster counties with Walkway State Park in the center.”

The approximately $2.8 million project will provide a direct connection from the elevated park to the Poughkeepsie waterfront, including Waryas Park and soon-to-be-created Upper Landing Park; facilitate tourism by providing more direct access to the Poughkeepsie train station; and provide easier access for persons with disabilities to the park near the center of the bridge. The project is funded primarily by a $2.4 million federal Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP) grant and other grants secured by the not-for-profit Walkway Over the Hudson friends group.

The 8-foot-by-10-foot stainless steel elevator cab features observation windows on three sides and has a capacity to take up to 15 people on its 1½-minute ride. It is expected to be operational by late fall. The elevator construction contract was awarded to BCI Construction of Albany.

Additionally, the Walkway Over the Hudson friends group is spearheading a waterfront gateway project to improve access, safety, and visitor experience at the entranceway to elevator. The project will create a 400-foot path to the base of the elevator, complete with new fencing and railings, lighting, wayfinding signage, benches and landscaping. The gateway project is moving forward with the assistance of a $400,000 grant through the New York Regional Council initiative and support from the Dyson Foundation.