Hanging by a thread: engineers start inspection on the railroad bridge

November 15, 2010 — NEW PALTZ, NY — Engineers and their crews have converged on the historic railroad trestle over Rondout Creek and Route 213 in Rosendale as the Wallkill Valley Land Trust and Open Space Institute prepare to launch a campaign to raise the $750,000 needed to complete restoration of the 114-year-old trestle. 

“This is going to be a wonderful asset to the community when it’s finished. A 24-mile continuous rail trail, spotlighting the unmatched beauty of this part of NY State and will draw visitors and dollars from all over the region. The recreational, scenic, historical, and economic benefits this project provides are monumental,” said Christine Ferguson, Executive Director of the Wallkill Valley Land Trust.  

Engineers from Bergmann Associates have completed a structural inspection of the trestle to determine the extent of the restorations needed to ensure it will be safe for public use.  “The bridge appears to be in great condition; we’ll confirm that with further analysis, but I’m very optimistic,” said Mike Cooper, P.E., Project Manager for Bergmann Associates.  The engineering report will be available in January 2011, with repair work expected to commence in the spring of 2011. The restoration project is estimated to take about 12 months. 

In the interest of public safety, the 940-foot-long railroad trestle will be closed from end to end for the duration of the project. Once it is reopened, the trestle will be a major scenic highlight along the extended, nearly 24-mile Wallkill Valley Rail Trail. 

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation has committed $150,000 toward the trestle renovation project. OSI and WVLT are launching a major fundraising effort in the New Year, and to make a donation now, please visit

“With some support in hand, we hope now that the local community will help us raise the remainder of the money we need to repair the trestle and complete what will become a major recreational resource for the Shawangunk region,” said OSI President Joe Martens.

In August 2009, WVLT and OSI together acquired 11.5 miles (65 acres) of the former Wallkill Valley Railroad, nearly doubling the length of the existing Wallkill Valley Rail Trail. That acquisition included the Rosendale railroad trestle, which is now solely owned by the Wallkill Valley Land Trust. When completely restored and renovated, the rail trail and trestle will be conveyed to the towns of Rosendale and Ulster, with WVLT maintaining conservation easements on the properties.

Once all work is completed, the improved Wallkill Valley Rail Trail will extend from the southern border of Gardiner to the city of Kingston, affording walkers, hikers, bikers and all users panoramic views of Shawangunk Ridge, the Binnewater Lakes region and the hamlet of Rosendale. 

Anyone interested in the fundraising campaign or seeking further information on the trestle restoration should visit the Wallkill Valley Land Trust's website or the Open Space Institute's site.

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