$ 400 million project to rebuild Livingston Avenue rail, pedestrian bridge linking Albany and Rensselaer

ALBANY – The Capital Region may soon say goodbye to a troubled transportation relic under a state plan that could cost roughly $ 400 million.

The state will hold two public hearings later this month as part of its plan to replace the Livingston Avenue railroad bridge, part of which dates to the 1860s. The project is expected to improve passenger and freight service, and also give pedestrians and bicyclists safer and better access across the Hudson River, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office said.

Current estimates call for the state’s price tag to come to about $ 400 million. Federal officials familiar with the project said there could be additional investments by Amtrak that would increase the final cost.

A state Department of Transportation spokesman said the project would be paid for with a combination of state and federal funds.

“The Department of Transportation also intends to pursue competitive intercity grant opportunities that this project would qualify for under the federal infrastructure package later this year to help offset the costs of the project,” he said.

The governor’s office Thursday released renderings of what the new bridge and access points could look like.


The span is considered a critical link for passenger rail service in the Northeast Corridor to Albany and Rensselaer and is considered a key part of any future high-speed rail plans in the area.

The state Department of Transportation’s plans call for a replacement with a new structure capable of supporting higher-speed passenger and freight rail and accommodating maritime transport as well as the bicycle-pedestrian access, Hochul’s news release said.

There will be a virtual public hearing via Zoom at 6 pm May 31.

An in-person hearing will be held at 6 pm on June 1 at the Palace Theater on Clinton Avenue. Both sessions will feature informational presentations about the project by DOT personnel.

“Anyone who rides the rails in upstate New York knows all too well the travel delays caused by the antiquated Livingston Avenue Bridge,” Hochul said in a statement. “Replacing this relic of the 19th century will not only improve passenger and freight rail service throughout New York, but it will also provide bikers, hikers and pedestrians with a new, safer way to cross the Hudson River.

The current bridge, owned by CSX and leased to Amtrak, was built in 1902, with its pilings dating to 1866. It has a pedestrian walkway that has been closed for decades due to neglect. That neglect also limits trains crossing the bridge to just 15 mph. The new bridge will support speeds up to 40 mph, according to the state. As far back as 2010 the DOT was saying “recent inspections indicate that the bridge structure is approaching the end of its serviceable life,” according to a Times Union article.

The new bridge’s design would also change from a movable swing bridge to a lift-type bridge. The changes would bring the structure in line with modern standards.

The DOT is recommending the new structure to be built just south of the existing bridge, carrying two railroad tracks. The estimated cost for that option is at least $ 331 million. The shared-use path would connect with the Empire State Trail, the city’s Skyway Park and a planned park on the Rensselaer side.

Construction is expected to start by the end of 2023 with completion slated by the end of 2026.

Last year, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer urged Amtrak to use some of the $ 16 billion in aid it received from the $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill on maintaining the bridge.

* A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the project’s cost to be $ 1 billion.

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