By Tony D’Imperio, Livingston County News, link to original full post with PHOTOS
Although the highway bridge has a sidewalk, getting to it from the Greenway required trail users to risk their safety — especially in winter — by walking along the roadside of Route 36 and the staying on the apron of Sickles Avenue, a Mount Morris Street without sidewalks. The new pedestrian bridge, dedicated last Saturday, makes an unbroken continuation of the trail across the river, following the route of the old “Pennsy” Railroad that went out of service in 1963.
In fact, the entire Greenway follows the route of the “Pennsy” Railroad, and before that the Genesee Valley Canal, which operated from the 1840s to the 1870s. The piers, constructed using granite to support the railroad bridge, are now bearing — with some modifications — the weight of the pedestrian bridge. “I find it fascinating that the piers are linking the old and the new,” remarked Regional Director of Transportation Bob Traver.
Planning for the pedestrian bridge began in with the Mount Morris Main Street Highway reconstruction project about ten years ago, and the $1.7 million cost of the bridge was covered by monies from the American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009.
The fabricated steel sections were constructed off site and transported to the river area for installation. The concrete floor and 12 foot width will allow emergency vehicles to cross. The structure is 450 feet long.
A large ceremonial ‘Gold’ Nut and huge Wrench were exhibited to commemorate the turns of the last nuts and bolts that join two sections of the bridge at the center. “A nut that big was hard to find,” said Dave Nagel, grinning from ear to ear.
Nagel, a Friends of Greenway Board Member and retired schoolteacher, got the nut from a former student who owns Blum Brothers Customs, a metal and automotive shop in Fowlerville, NY. He picked up the wrench from Second-Chance Merchandise consignment store, corner of Routes 36 and 63. Both businesses donated these expensive items; the nut, according to Nagel, carried a retail price of around $80.
The 90 mile long Genesee Valley Greenway extends from Genesee Valley Park in Rochester to Cuba, N.Y. in the Southern Tier. In 1991 the first section of the Greenway opened in Mount Morris.
The Genesee Valley Greenway is one of more than 1100 greenways winding their way across America, transforming old canals, abandoned rail beds and forgotten riverbanks into green recreational corridors. The cinders of old railbeds provide a firm, level surface for walking, jogging, biking, horseback riding and cross county skiing.