NYPA Press Release

New York Power Authority and New York State Canal Corporation Announce Brockport Pedestrian Bridge Construction Start

For Immediate Release: September 26, 2023

Contact: Shane Mahar | 518-603-0791 | shane.mahar@nypa.gov



New Crossing over the Erie Canal to Connect SUNY Brockport to Empire State Trail

First Large-Scale Infrastructure Project Under Reimagine the Canals Initiative Expected to Open in Spring 2025

Renderings of Pedestrian Bridge and Photos of Power Authority and Canal Corporation Board of Trustees Canal Tour Available Here

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) and New York State Canal Corporation today announced the commencement of construction of a new pedestrian bridge over the Erie Canal in the Village of Brockport, Monroe County. The crossing is the first new large-scale infrastructure project under New York State’s Reimagine the Canals initiative and will connect the SUNY Brockport campus to the Empire State Trail. The bridge is expected to open in 2025, which also marks the bicentennial of the Erie Canal’s opening in 1825. 

“Through the construction of this new pedestrian bridge and the Reimagine the Canals initiative, NYPA and the Canal Corporation are demonstrating our commitment to investing in the economic future of canalside communities,” said New York Power Authority Board of Trustees Chairman John Koelmel. “Once opened, this new crossing will not only connect the Brockport community, but also ushers in a new era of connectivity between the iconic Erie Canal and next generation of local residents and canal users.”

In 2021, NYPA selected SHoP Architects, a New York City-based New York State Small Business Enterprise firm, and ARUP to design and engineer the new pedestrian crossing. Now under construction, the design and materials being used to build the bridge represent a commitment through the Reimagine the Canals initiative to incorporate the current best practices for sustainability and accessibility for projects throughout the canal corridor. With its gentle elevation change, the pedestrian bridge will be fully accessible and will integrate sustainable features such as native species planting, stormwater rain gardens, LED light fixtures, and compliance to Dark Sky principles. In addition, the bridge’s major structural elements utilize locally fabricated steel, sustainable wood decking, and a low VOC durable paint.

New York Power Authority President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said, “Being constructed next to a century-old guard gate, this new bridge builds upon the Canal’s iconic infrastructure and will provide a new way for New Yorkers to experience the historic waterway. Through the investment being made by NYPA and the Canal Corporation in Brockport and in other communities, we are ensuring the Erie Canal continues to spur economic growth for decades to come.”

New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, “As we approach the bicentennial of the Erie Canal, we are thrilled to have a new project underway that will connect people, ideas, and a community at-large just as the opening of the original canal did 200 years ago. This project is a commitment by NYPA and the Canal Corporation to the future of the waterway and reaffirms how the canal supports local downtowns and a quality of life for neighboring residents.”

NYPA is funding the new bridge in part through a $2 million grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, which will be administered by the Rochester Area Community Foundation.

Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation Director of Parks & Trails Initiative J.J. Tighe said, “The new pedestrian bridge will enhance the quality of life for Village residents and SUNY Brockport students by providing a key connection across the Erie Canal and creating a 6-mile loop that strings together parks and other recreational opportunities. These enhancements provide an exciting opportunity to grow and invigorate tourism and the local economy in the village of Brockport and will kick off the next 100 years of the Erie Canal as a recreation asset for communities across the State of New York.” 

SUNY Brockport President Heidi Macpherson said, “The Erie Canal is a national treasure, and we are so fortunate that the SUNY Brockport campus is located on this historic landmark. As a university engaged with its community, we see immense value in connecting our campus with the Empire State Trail. The construction of this new pedestrian bridge will benefit SUNY Brockport, our students, and our neighbors in the Village of Brockport. We are grateful to Governor Hochul, NYPA, and the Canal Corporation for making this project a reality.”

When completed, the bridge will complement the Village of Brockport’s installation of a kayak dock and plans for a nearby boathouse. The bridge may also serve as a viewing platform for anticipated rowing competitions on the canal.    

Village of Brockport Mayor Margay Blackman said, “The Village of Brockport is excited about the Reimagine the Canals pedestrian bridge project. We have already witnessed the beginning of preliminary work, and this initial construction has spurred the village to pursue funding for several related projects, including: completion of the Brockport Loop, a literal pedestrian and cyclist loop that connects north and south sides of the canal between the pedestrian bridge and our high bridge at Smith Street; funding for two public art canal themed projects, and funding to complete a boathouse in the immediate proximity of the bridge which will bring rowing to the Erie Canal. Today is just the beginning. The Reimagine bridge is a reimagination of Brockport.”

The Board of Trustees visit to the construction site today capped a two-day itinerary that included a tour of the Erie Canal in the greater Rochester region, meetings with local NYPA and Canal Corporation stakeholders, and the regular Trustees meeting, which was held at SUNY Brockport.

Through the Reimagine the Canals initiative, the New York Power Authority committed $300 million to revitalize the Erie Canal corridor as a tourism and recreation destination while simultaneously boosting economic development and improving the resiliency of canalside communities.



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.

The New York State Canal Corporation is a subsidiary of the New York Power Authority.

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