Skip to main content

Green Island Bridge - Troy and Green Island, New York


One of the more aesthetically interesting bridges on the Hudson River, the Green Island Bridge which links the city of Troy, New York with the neighboring village of Green Island by way of Center Island. The only lift bridge located on the Hudson River, it could be considered to be the signature bridge for the Hudson River north of Albany. But as enduring of a symbol that the 630 foot long Green Island Bridge is for the local area, it is not the original bridge at this location.

Initially, there was a rail crossing where the Green Island Bridge stands today. The original bridge was a covered bridge built in 1832 and served the Rensselaer and Saratoga Railroad. In 1862, the bridge caught fire from the sparks of a passing locomotive and soon fell into the Hudson River. Parts of the burning structure, put the steamboats and smaller watercraft docked along the wharves in peril. The devastating fire also consumed more than 500 buildings covering 75 acres in downtown Troy.

This bridge was replaced by a second wooden bridge, which was in use until 1884, when a steel railroad bridge replaced the second wooden bridge. The steel bridge was essentially two parallel bridges owned by the Delaware and Hudson Railroad. When rail service ended in Troy in 1963, the bridge was converted for the use of automobile traffic. Until then the northern span was a rail bridge, and the southern span was a toll bridge for cars, trolleys, and pedestrians. This edition of the Green Island Bridge had a lift span added in 1924 for river shipping, useful as the Hudson River is a tidal estuary as far north as the Troy Federal Lock and Dam about a mile north of the Green Island Bridge.

On March 15, 1977, the collapse of the old Green Island Bridge had occurred due to flooding caused by 2.7 inches of heavy weekend rains, coupled with melting snows and heavy runoff that often occurs in March. Scour induced by the flood undermined the lift span pier, causing the western lift tower and roadbed span of the bridge to collapse into the Hudson River.. At about 2:25 pm that day, a few people heard loud noises and realizing that the bridge was collapsing, sprung into action. They quickly stopped traffic from going on the bridge and were credited with saving many lives. Soon afterward, one span fell off and collapsed into the Hudson River. Around 7:00pm that same evening, the 85 foot west lift tower and roadbed span collapsed into the river as well. Fortunately, nobody was hurt as the bridge carried over 22,000 vehicles per day at that time, including many employees of the nearby Ford plant that was operating in Green Island at the time.

The collapse of the old Green Island Bridge affected life in both Green Island and Troy for several years as Green Island isolated from downtown Troy. Construction on the present Green Island Bridge began in 1978 and was opened on September 1981 and it cost $23 million to build. During the same time frame, and perhaps as a result of the collapse of the Green Island Bridge, the nearby Collar City Bridge carrying NY 7 across the Hudson River, was also constructed.

Today, the new Green Island Bridge blends very well into the landscape of downtown Troy. A number of riverside restaurants offer great views of the bridge and at the time of this article, there is a riverside walking trail being constructed that will afford some nice views of the bridge. The greater community has also rallied behind the Green Island Bridge as well. There was a mural painted underneath the Green Island Bridge on TroyBot, an imagined version of the Green Island Bridge that transforms into a giant robot. This mural depicts TroyBot helping the City of Troy following a devastating storm.










How to Get There:



Sources and Links:

Green Island Bridge - Bridgehunter.com
Green Island Bridge (old) - Bridgehunter.com
Troy Green Island Bridge - A Postcard History Of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - Troy, NY
Recalling bridge collapse 30 years later - Troy Record
40 Years Ago Today... Green Island Bridge Collapse - Village of Green Island



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Paper Highways; California State Route 1 through the Lost Coast

For all the accolades and praise that California State Route 1 gets for being a top notch coastal highway one fact tends to get overlooked; the highway was never finished!  In this edition of Paper Highways we look at the failed path of California State Route 1 through the Lost Coast.



Part 1; the history of Legislative Route 56 and California Route 1 through the Lost Coast

The Lost Coast region consists of the undeveloped coastal areas of Humboldt County, Mendocino County, and the King Range.  The Lost Coast region roughly spans from near Rockport in Mendocino County north to Ferndale of Humboldt County.  The Lost Coast region is known for having rugged terrain which rivals what is seen in Big Sur.  The Lost Coast has several small communities such as; Shelter Cove, Whitehorn, and Petrolia.

In 1933 Legislative Route 56 was extended south to LRN 2 (US 101) near Las Cruces and north to Ferndale to LRN 1 (also US 101).  Prior to 1933 the legislative description of LRN 56 had it's nort…

US Route 99 to Visalia?...

Something that I noticed awhile back while doing map research regarding US Route 99 in Fresno was that the highway intended to be originally routed through the City of Visalia.



The early originally planned alignment of US Route 99 in Visalia

To be clear US 99 was never actually routed through Visalia and ended up bypassing the City in favor of a direct route from Goshen southeast to Tulare.  US 99 within San Joaquin Valley was aligned over Legislative Route 4 which in turn was added to the State Highway System as part of the 1909 First State Highway Bond Act.  LRN 4 for a time was aligned through Visalia via; Mineral King Avenue, Main Street, and Mooney Boulevard.  This early alignment of LRN 4 through Visalia can be seen on the 1924 Division of Highways State Map.


The initial draft of the US Route System was approved by the Secretary of Agriculture during November of 1925.  The US Route System with in California was approved by California Highway Commission with no changes recommended…

Where the hell is Hill Valley? (US Route 8 south/US Route 395 east)

Recently I made a visit to Universal Studios near Los Angeles.  While on the back lot tour I came across a piece of infamous movie-borne fictional highway infamy; the location of town square of Hill Valley, California on US Route 8/US Route 395.


The above photo is part of the intro scene to the first Back-to-the-Future movie which was set in 1985. To anyone who follows roadways the signage error of US 8 meeting US 395 in California is an immediately notable error.  For one; US 8 doesn't even exist anywhere near California with present alignment being signed as an east/west highway between Norway, Michigan and Forest Lake, Minnesota.  To make matters worse US 8 is signed as a southbound route and US 395 (a north/south highway) is signed as an eastbound route.  At minimum the cut-out US 8 and US 395 shields somewhat resemble what Caltrans used in the 1980s.

Assuming Hill Valley is located on what would have been US 395 by 1985 what locales would be a viable real world analog?  US 39…