Location: Poughkeepsie, NY
Project Value: $1MM - $2MM

Scope of Work: ERSI provided all necessary demolition and asbestos abatement services as part of the decommissioning/repurposing of the historic CSX Poughkeepsie-Highland Railway Bridge in preparation for the establishment of the Walkway-Over-The-Hudson State Historic Park, a scenic pedestrian and bike pathway over the Hudson River. Upon completion, it became the world’s longest, elevated pedestrian bridge.

Background: A 19th century engineering marvel, the 212’ high, 1-1/4 mile long Poughkeepsie-Highland Railway Bridge was completed in 1888, hailed at the time as the longest bridge in the world. In its heyday, 3500 trains traversed the mighty Hudson River laden with visitors and cargo from over the world. Tragedy struck in 1974, when fire damaged 700’ of the wood decking, ending nearly a century of uninterrupted use. Repair was deemed too costly, and the bridge sat in disrepair until the non-profit organization, Walkway-Over-The-Hudson, assumed ownership of the bridge in 1998. The still intact, steel-truss framework of the bridge was deemed sound, and in 2007 Walkway-Over-The-Hudson began transforming the old, abandoned CSX railway bridge into the world’s largest pedestrian park. Enter ERSI.

Scope of Work: In 2008, ERSI was secured to provide demolition and asbestos abatement services; thus, the process of decommissioning the bridge began. The scope of work included removal of 1-1/4 miles of rail track and the corresponding ties, as well as the removal of all associated asbestos containing materials. Work was performed at an elevation of 212 feet over the Hudson River which remained opened the entire time to commercial use. All personnel were harnessed with lifelines. ERSI positioned a boat, outfitted with requisite rescue equipment, in the water under the bridge while work was in progress. An aggressive schedule was in place, as the Walkway’s Grand Opening was set to coincide with the 400 year anniversary of Henry Hudson’s historic exploration of the valley now bearing his name. On October 3, 2009, New York’s Governor David A. Paterson opened the Walkway-Over-The-Hudson State Historic Park. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar designated the Walkway-Over-The-Hudson project as a National Recreation Trail. Since then, millions have visited to take in the one-of-a-kind view.

ERSI was honored to be a member of the Walkway project team. In 2009, the Excellence in Partnering Award was presented by the Association of General Contractors; in 2010 The Preservation League of New York State recognized ERSI with their Excellence in Historic Preservation Award. All work was completed on time and in accordance with regulatory guidelines, with no incidents/injuries. Click here for more information »