A yearlong project to restore a historic bridge across the Hudson River in Northumberland as a pedestrian bridge is nearing completion, Saratoga County officials said Tuesday.
“A ribbon-cutting is being planned for Nov. 8,” said Mechanicville town Supervisor Thomas Richardson, chairman of the Historic Hoosick-Hudson Partnership, which promotes scenic and heritage tourism in the upper Hudson Valley.
The 118-year-old bridge, which crosses the river between Saratoga and Washington counties just north of Schuylerville, has been undergoing a $2.4 million restoration to become part of a regional pedestrian-bicycle trail system.
“It will be quite helpful in the connections of our trail system,” county Board of Supervisors Chairman Alan R. Grattidge, R-Charlton, said at Tuesday’s county board meeting.
Richardson said there’s a push to finish the work by Nov. 8 because there’s a planned 5K race for a veterans’ charity scheduled to use the restored bridge Nov. 9.
The work and the earlier design costs are being funded from a $2.45 million federal grant awarded in 2009, $300,000 from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and $318,000 from Saratoga County.
The three-span, iron-truss bridge was built in 1895 as a free alternative to a private toll bridge at Schuylerville. Local farmers and a mill owner paid for it, tired of having to pay tolls to get to their fields or so employees could get to work.
The bridge, which was eventually taken over by Saratoga and Washington counties, has been closed for about 20 years due to deterioration.
“We rehabbed it, and now we have a use for it,” said Northumberland town Supervisor Bill Peck.
The bridge is next to the Hudson Crossing Park, just a little north of Schuylerville, at Champlain Canal Lock 5. The bridge will be open to snowmobiles in the winter, as well as pedestrians and cyclists.
In other business at Tuesday’s board meeting:
• The board unanimously approved issuing as much as $35.6 million in tax-free bonds to Saratoga Hospital, which will use the money to build a new surgery and intensive care unit wing on the hospital.
• John Warmt was named the county’s new director of purchasing, at an annual salary of $66,631. Warmt, who has worked in support services at the Maplewood Manor infirmary for the last 23 years, replaces Catherine Schrome, who retired in June.