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Schenectady celebrates reopening of Francis Avenue Bridge over I-890

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara joined Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy and City Council President Marion Porterfield for the reopening of the Francis Avenue Bridge, October 11, 2022.
Dave Lucas
/
WAMC
Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara joined Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy and City Council President Marion Porterfield for the reopening of the Francis Avenue Bridge, October 11, 2022.

The City of Schenectady has officially reopened the Francis Avenue Bridge over Interstate 890.

Also known as the Cotton Hollow Bridge, the span connecting the Mont Pleasant and Hamilton Hill neighborhoods had been closed for construction since March, according to Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy.

"It was closed for roughly six months," McCarthy said, "which allowed us to do it cheaper and actually quicker. So I appreciate the neighbors, the residents, their patience in the inconvenience caused by closing it. But it's a $3.2 million project, competitive project through BRIDGE NY."

City Council President Marion Porterfield, a fellow Democrat, says the structure keeps two active communities connected.

“Many families use this bridge to bring their children back and forth to school, some of them driving, but many of them walking," Porterfield said. "So it's a very important thoroughfare for folks to use to get between the two communities. Without that, they had to make a big walk around to the other bridge. So, this was down for a little while, and that's understandable. But to have it back up, it's going to mean a lot to people that, especially as winter's coming, they won't have to make the extra walk getting the children to school. So it’s a major connection to the two neighborhoods. From here you can get to the school, but they can also get over to the library and all the other things on the other side of the bridge that people make use of.”

State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, a Democrat from the 111th district, says the project included replacement of the concrete bridge deck, new sidewalks, guardrails and improved lighting.

"It's one thing to see the see that funding go into the budget and to know that it's going to be doing things but actually to see those dollars at work here, back home in our in my community is something that's very meaningful to me," Santabarbara said. "And to be able to speak about, you know, what, when I saw personally, the improvements that we've seen, the LED lighting is going to be very significant. If this bridge had poor lighting, now it's going to have a modern lighting, the sidewalks are, are wide enough for people to be able to use them comfortably with strollers or wherever else they need to get across, not just the driving component of this."

Mayor McCarthy cut the ribbon opening the new bridge and a city fire truck was the first vehicle to cross it.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.