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Driving Park Bridge - Rochester, NY
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member sagefemme
N 43° 10.860 W 077° 37.780
18T E 286285 N 4784272
Quick Description: This bridge strikes me as a remarkable feat because of its height above the Genesee River and because the length of its single arch.
Location: New York, United States
Date Posted: 1/13/2012 8:39:28 AM
Waymark Code: WMDGK3
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 4

Long Description:
The original Driving Park Bridge (also known as Seneca Park Bridge) was built in 1889-1890 with an 8-ton load limit. It was 717 feet long, and 220 feet from the bottom of the Genesee River Gorge, and was considered to be the first spandrel braced arch truss bridge built in the United States. It was one of the last wrought-iron bridges constructed, as steel was beginning to come into use. (visit link) Images of the historic bridge can be found here (visit link) . This original bridge was demolished in 1986 (visit link) .

The new arch bridge, built in 1988, is 707.7 feet long, carrying two-lane highway and pedestrian walkway over 4 steel spans and cast-in-place concrete decking, with a design load of "MS 18 / HS 20" (visit link)

Going back further into history:

Before the historic 1890 Driving Park Bridge, there were multiple attempts to bridge the Genesee at the Lower Falls. The village of Carthage was in direct competition with Rochesterville, and until 1819, there was only one bridge crossing the Genesee River: at Main Street, Rochesterville. The Main Street Bridge was built in 1812, at a cost of $12,000 paid by New York State. Opponents of this bridge said there was no one to cross it. They had a point: the population of Rochester that year was only 15. The community of King's Landing (also known as Hanford's Landing - on the west side of the river) was the main port of Great Lakes commerce on the mouth of the Genesee River. Also growing at a rate faster than Rochesterville was Carthage, about a mile further south on the river, on the bluffs above the last navigable portion of the Genesee downstream of the Lower Falls.

But in 1819, Samuel Andrews sets up a toll bridge north of the Main Street bridge; the first Court Street Bridge, made of wood is erected; and the Carthage bridge is erected at roughly the location of this bridge.

This bridge was described as one of the wonders of the world, being 718' long, 30' wide and 196' above the rive. It took 22 men from May 1818 to February 1819 to build this 200 ton tressel bridge of pine timber and iron bolts. Guarranteed for one year, the bridge collapsed after 15 months. (visit link) (visit link)

River level bridges were attempted over Middle Falls (an easy walk from Driving Park Bridge and the Maplewood Rose Garden south on the Genesee River Trail) in 1828 and again in 1835, but in each case, floods washed it out.

All the while, the Erie Canal was progressing from the east, opening in 1823. That marked the point when Rochesterville dominated the regions development. By 1834 Carthage was incorporated into the city of Rochester.

Another attempt to bridge the Genesee Gorge at Driving Park was made opening in July 1856... this time as a suspension bridge, but users felt it was unstable and it was closed. Cables anchored in the gorge wer added to stabilize it and it reopened in September. The city still felt it was inadequate and refused to accept it. In April 1857, the weight of the ice from a storm caused one of the cast iron anchors to snap, and the bridge fell into the gorge.

Given this history, it is remarkable that the next bridge - the steel arch bridge lasted nearly 100 years before being replaced by this bridge.
Length of bridge: 707.7 ft

Height of bridge: 220 ft

What type of traffic does this bridge support?: motor vehicle, pedestrian

What kind of gap does this bridge cross?:
Geneseee River Gorge

Date constructed: 1988

Is the bridge still in service for its original purpose?: yes

Name of road or trail the bridge services: Driving Park Blvd meeting Avenue E on the east side

Rochester, New York

Visit Instructions:
Please submit a photo(s) taken by you of your visit to the location (non-copyrighted photos only). GPS photos are also accepted with the location in the background, and old vacation photos are accepted. If you are not able to provide a photo, then please describe your visit or give a story about the visit. If the bridge location prevents you from taking a safe photograph, then please do not stop to take the photo. Safety is more important.
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Recent Visits/Logs:
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wander41 visited Driving Park Bridge - Rochester, NY 3/11/2012 wander41 visited it