The bridge is a backdrop in the scenic
KINGSTON – The Wurts Street Bridge over the Rondout Creek serving the Kingston and Esopus communities will receive a $37 million reconstruction thanks to the efforts of Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (D, Kingston).
The money was placed in the state’s transportation budget for fiscal year 2016-17.
Cahill credited the late Esopus Town Supervisor John Coutant and incumbent Supervisor Diana McCord with pushing for the major renovations and upgrades.
The almost century-old bridge was built in 1921 and replaced a chain-driven “Skillypot” ferry first installed by the Dutch in the late 17th century.
“It is on that very site, the very site of that bridge, where the child slave Sojourner Truth traversed the Rondout Creek on a Skillypot before there was a bridge at 11 years old to bring rum back to her slave master who ran a tavern in Port Ewen,” Cahill noted. “The significance of this bring just grows and grows as we learn more about it.”
The two-lane two-way structure with a pedestrian walkway is the only suspension bridge operated and maintained by the state Department of Transportation. It is a significant vehicular and pedestrian link for residents of the area.
The remodeling work is expected to begin in 2018 during which time Cahill said it is more than likely that the bridge would be shut down.
Kingston Mayor Steven Noble did not respond to a request for comment about the financial award for the bridge project.