DeWITT, N.Y. — Crews have completed construction on a new pedestrian bridge over Interstate 481 (I-481) along the Empire State Trail and “key sections” of the trail in the city of Syracuse and the town of DeWitt.
The effort helps to connect several of the “last remaining gaps” in the Empire State Trail, which the state expects to finish later this year, the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a news release.
The Empire State Trail is the state’s initiative to create a 750-mile pathway from New York City to Canada and from Albany to Buffalo.
“The completion of the pedestrian bridge and trail connections in Syracuse and the town of DeWitt builds on our efforts to complete the Empire State Trail across the state,” Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said. “This project will create new recreational and transportation opportunities for residents and visitors in Onondaga County, during a critical time when many people are looking for things to do in their own backyard during the COVID-19 crisis. This investment in the Empire State Trail will enhance tourism in the area and improve quality of life as we build back better for the post-pandemic future.”
Hochul provided the construction update during an Aug. 6 visit to Central New York.
A key part of the project was the construction of a new bicycling and pedestrian bridge over I-481 in the town of DeWitt, which provides a link between Butternut Drive and Towpath Road just north of Kinne Road.
The New York State Department of Transportation constructed a new trail section along the entire length of Towpath Road that links the Erie Canalway Trail in Dewitt to Bridge Street.
From Celi Drive to Widewaters Parkway, Towpath Road has been converted to a one-way road, with the trail constructed on the south side; and from Widewaters Parkway to just north of the Kinne Road intersection, Towpath Road will remain a two-way road, with the trail located on the south side, per Cuomo’s office.
In addition, improvements have been made along the existing bike trail in the city of Syracuse along Water Street from South Franklin Street to Beech Street, including striping, new curb ramps, sidewalk repair, signage and some minor changes to the bicycle pattern.
This project is part of a “wider, ongoing effort to eliminate the largest gap” in the Erie Canalway section of the Empire State Trail, a 14-mile stretch between Camillus, Syracuse, and DeWitt. Additional construction of the Syracuse and DeWitt portions — including the Erie Boulevard East section of the trail — are under construction and scheduled for completion in late 2020.
To complete the Empire Trail in 2020, crews are building about 350 miles of new and improved trails, Cuomo’s office said. New York contends the trail will “drive economic growth and boost tourism” in communities along its route.
The Empire State Trail will be “85 percent off-road canalway and trails” along the Erie Canalway (Albany to Buffalo) and Hudson Valley Greenway (New York City to Albany).