At long last, work is expected to begin this year on a $16.5 million pedestrian bridge that will connect Amsterdam's north and south shores. The city has been waiting for quite some time for this to happen, as the span -- now called the Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook -- was part of a transportation bond act passed by New York state voters in 2005.
There have been a lot of discussions about what the bridge will look like, what shape it will be, and all the amenities it will feature.
Those designs are just about finalized. The engineering work is complete, and the state Department of Transportation is expected to put the project out for bid in a few month. The goal is to have a signed contract in place by August, according to Amsterdam Community and Economic Development Director Robert von Hasseln.
The actual work is expected to start in the fall, and the project is scheduled to be finished by October 2015.
We've long believed that the pedestrian bridge is a good thing for the city. It's going to play a key role in revitalizing Amsterdam's waterfront, which will hopefully spur improvement across the entire community.
It's also going to play a key role in revamping the city's South Side. With Bridge Street already rebuilt and the former Chalmers knitting mills finally torn down, the neighborhood is poised to make a comeback.
The bridge is also expected to be an educational tool, incorporating pieces of Amsterdam's past into the design, celebrating the city's rich and diverse ethnic heritage, paying tribute to those who have served in the armed forces and the region's Native American community.
We're excited to see the project finally take wings. We realize a lot of behind-the-scenes work has taken place -- so it's not like the project has been dormant. There's something to be said, however, about being able to actually see people start building the bridge.
Excuse us. Overlook.