Originally built in 1889 as a double-track railroad bridge, the Walkway Over the Hudson bridge conversion project transformed the historic Poughkeepsie-Highland railroad bridge structure into the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge. Today, this multi-use trail, elevated 212 feet above the Hudson River, connects the City of Poughkeepsie, the Metro North Rail Station, and an extensive trail system in Dutchess and Ulster counties in New York State. The 1.28-mile-long steel cantilever bridge has become a global destination for pedestrians and cyclists alike, showcasing the area’s natural beauty with unparalleled views of the Hudson Valley. McLaren provided a range of engineering services, including a full underwater and climbing inspection, repair design, construction engineering, and elevator design.
In 2009, New York held a statewide celebration to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage to the new world and discovery of New Amsterdam. The Walkway Over the Hudson served as the state’s legacy gift for this celebration.
McLaren’s team of engineers went above and beyond for this bridge conversion project, performing challenging dive inspections and advanced underwater sonar imaging in the Hudson River to verify that the 10-story-tall timber caissons had ample remaining life and could provide the structure with “solid footing.” The firm also conducted a full climbing inspection, with SPRAT inspectors, of the structural steel trusses and helped design a conversation of the former railroad bridge into a pedestrian walkway.
In 2010, this project was named “Best Of” by New York Construction News, and the Public Construction Project of the Year by the New York State Society of Professional Engineers.
In order to make the bridge connecting Poughkeepsie and Highland, NY, more accessible to visitors McLaren later designed a 21-story steel elevator to scale riders 200 feet above the water to enjoy the bridge and the views of New York’s Hudson River.