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Historic Watkins bridge to undergo renovation ADVERTISEMENT

Historic Watkins bridge to undergo renovation

WATKINS GLEN--New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced last week that the pedestrian bridge near the Franklin Street entrance to the Watkins Glen State Park Gorge Trail will be closed for renovation this season. A temporary bridge will be installed in the coming weeks to ensure access to the gorge for the summer. The gorge trail will open by Memorial Day weekend, but visitors may need to use other points of entry until the temporary bridge is installed.
A recently completed inspection of the bridge found that significant erosion of the native stone has compromised the integrity of bridge abutments at both ends of the 1930's era bridge, known as the Sentry Bridge.
"We are starting the engineering and design process to determine if we should renovate or replace the bridge," said Dan Keefe, spokesman for the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
The timeline of the bridge renovation has not been determined.
To accommodate access to the gorge, the state will install a temporary 56-foot-wide aluminum truss bridge that will lay over the existing stone arch bridge. The temporary bridge will rest on new abutments. It is expected to be in place by early summer.
Until then, visitors will need to use the Upper Entrance or the North or South Rim Trails to access lower portions of the gorge trail.
"The gorge trail was closed for the winter, it's going to open by Memorial Day weekend, there will be some impacts in the beginning of the season until the temporary bridge is up," said Keefe. "There will be signage so visitors know."
According to state figures, there were 1,003,280 visitors to the Watkins Glen State Park in 2021. The annual rock safety scaling project is currently underway to remove any potential falling hazards on guests.




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