This is one of the most significant historic bridges in the country. It is one of a tiny number of surviving early large-scale iron/steel cantilever truss bridges. The successful construction of this bridge and others of the period inspired decades of cantilever truss bridge construction over halfway into the 20th century. See this bridge's page for an overview of early cantilever truss bridges. While the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge was not the earliest example, nor the longest-spanning example, it was noted for its long length and use of multiple cantilever/anchor spans.
As originally constructed, the bridge had two truss lines, as most traditional truss bridges do. In 1907, a third truss line was added in between the two outside trusses to strengthen the bridge. This process of adding a third truss line was not unique; other deck truss railroad bridges elsewhere in the country were sometimes strengthened in this manner. Some of the shorter approach girders and trusses on the bridge were also replaced with new plate girder spans.
This bridge was abandoned after a fire on the deck on May 8, 1974. The future of the bridge was in question for many years, until an amazing project to convert this enormous bridge for pedestrian use was completed, with the redecked bridge being opened as the Walkway over the Hudson on October 3, 2009. One of the features of this walkway is an elevator along the east bank of the river that takes visitors directly to the bridge deck. This elevator has glass windows affording a unique close-up view of one of the cantilever truss spans.
Above: Historical drawing of bridge.
Above: Historical photo showing bridge construction including massive falsework for an anchor span. The anchor spans required falsework for construction, but the cantilever spans could be built without falsework due to the cantilever design.
Above: Historical photo showing bridge construction of a cantilever span.
Above: Early proposed (never built) design for the bridge.
A later proposed (never built) design for the bridge.
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