Century-Old Spans in Fairport and Spencerport Will Be Rehabilitated by Canal Corporation and Department of Transportation 

For Immediate Release: 03/28/19

WHITE PLAINS—The New York State Canal Corporation Board of Directors has approved $9.4 million to help fund an overhaul of two lift bridges over the Erie Canal in the villages of Fairport and Spencerport in Monroe County.

The funding will be part of a $16.2 million project that will be overseen by the state Department of Transportation. The Canal Corporation is responsible for paying for capital improvements to the lifting mechanisms and related components on the Erie Canal. The DOT, which owns the bridges, is responsible for the bridges' structure and roadway.

Boat traffic on the canal will not be affected by the closures and access to businesses and sidewalks will be maintained throughout the project.

Both of the historically significant bridges were originally built in 1914.

"New York's iconic Canal lift bridges are among the most recognizable and beloved structures in these villages and we will work closely with DOT to ensure their historic integrity is maintained," said Brian U. Stratton, Canal Corporation director. "These bridges help tell the Erie Canal story, and many a boater, motorist or pedestrian looks forward to encountering them."

Preliminary construction began in January before the project ramps up later this year, and is expected to conclude by July 2021. The Fairport lift bridge, which travels over Main Street (Route 250), will be closed no earlier than Sept. 3. The approximately 16,000 vehicles who use the bridge per day will be detoured onto Turk Hill, Ayrault and Whitney roads.

In Spencerport, the bridge over Route 259 (Union Street) is expected to close in July. Motorists will use routes 31 and 104 as detours. About 15,000 vehicles a day use the bridge.

The project is slated to include:

  • An update of all controls, electrical and mechanical systems on both bridges
  • Preservation and maintenance of the lift bridges' control towers, which are historically significant
  • Rehabilitation of the structures of both bridges to restore their legal load-carrying capacities for at least 20 years
  • Changing the north and southbound approaches to the Spencerport bridge to improve sightlines for motorists

The bridges are among 16 lift bridges that travel over the western Erie Canal between Fairport and Lockport. The Fairport bridge is noted for its unique 10-sided design. No two angles are the same and the bridge's floor lacks square corners.

Both bridges were erected to replace smaller versions that were rendered obsolete during the building of the Barge Canal, now known as the New York State Canal System, which widened the original canal to accommodate larger vessels.

About the New York State Canal Corporation

New York's canal system includes four historic canals: the Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca. Spanning 524 miles, the waterway links the Hudson River with the Great Lakes, the Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain. The canals form the backbone of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and connect hundreds of unique and historic communities. In 2019, New York will mark the 200th anniversary of the first trip taken on the Erie Canal, from Rome to Utica.

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Steven Gosset
Media Relations
(914) 390-8192