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

The Smithtown Bull in Smithtown, New York

  Before I moved to Upstate New York as a young man, I grew up in the Long Island town of Smithtown during the 1980s and 1990s. The recognizable symbol of Smithtown is a bronze statue of a bull named Whisper, located at the junction of NY Route 25 and NY Route 25A near the bridge over the Nissequogue River. Why a bull, you may ask. The bull is a symbol of a legend related to the town's founding in 1665 by Richard "Bull" Smythe, with a modernized name of Richard Smith. It also so happens that there is a story behind the legend, one that involves ancient land right transfers and some modern day roads as well. So the story goes that Smythe made an agreement with a local Indian tribe where Smythe could keep whatever land he circled around in a day's time riding atop his trusty bull. Choosing the longest day of the year for his ride, he set out with his bull Whisper and went about riding around the borders of the Town of Smithtown. As legend has it, Smythe t

The Midway Palm and Pine of US Route 99

Along modern day California State Route 99 south of Avenue 11 just outside the City limits of Madera one can find the Midway Palm and Pine in the center median of the freeway.  The Midway Palm and Pine denotes the halfway point between the Mexican Border and Oregon State Line on what was US Route 99.  The Midway Palm is intended to represent Southern California whereas the Midway Pine is intended to represent Northern California.  Pictured above the Midway Palm and Pine can be seen from the northbound lanes of the California State Route 99 Freeway.   The history of the Midway Palm and Pine The true timeframe for when the Midway Palm and Pine (originally a Deadora Cedar Tree) were planted is unknown.  In fact the origin of the Midway Palm and Pine was referenced in California's Gold Episode #608 during which Huell Howser examined numerous points claimed to be the Center of California.  During Episode #608 Huell Howser interviews Caltrans employee Bob Thompson who emphasizes there wa

Erie Canal: Little Falls and Moss Island

  Little Falls, New York is a small city in the Mohawk Valley that has been shaped by the forces of water throughout its history. Nowhere in Little Falls is that more evident than at Moss Island. Representing the Industrial Age, this is home of Lock 17 the tallest lock along the Erie Canal, but there is also evidence of the Ice Age in the form of 40 foot deep glacial potholes from when there was an ancient waterfall that was even larger than Niagara Falls at this spot, once draining Glacial Lake Iroquois when other outlets (such as the St. Lawrence River) were blocked by retreating glaciers. While Little Falls does not have the amount of industry around the river and canal than it once had, checking out what Moss Island has to offer is a great way to see what the city has to offer. Visiting Moss Island allows you to experience the engineering marvel that is the Erie Canal plus the wonders of nature by taking a hike around the island and seeing the glacial potholes. A