The bridge near The Gilded Otter that allows drivers to cross the Wallkill River and take a trip over to the Shawangunk Mountains will be shut down for construction early next month.
The Carmine Liberta Bridge, constructed in 1940, is a steel bridge with two lanes that extends over the river. It is a part of New York State Route 299, connecting the Town of New Paltz west side to the Village of New Paltz east side.
The project has been planned for over a year now and preparation and construction is supposed to start shortly after the New Paltz Regatta on May 1, according to Ulster Country Executive Mike Hein who worked with the Bridge Replacement Advisory Committee to make this effort happen.
Reasoning for the bridge’s renovation, besides safety issues from old age, revolve around improving its appearance to more so fit in with the scenic view of the Shawangunks.
“This may be one of the most beautiful scenic views in upstate New York,” Hein told The New Paltz Times. “We wanted to respect that view and enhance the experience when it became clear the 76-year-old bridge needed to be replaced. We also knew that over 10,000 vehicles cross that bridge every day.”
The new bridge is said to remain steel yet be arched and lit up with minimalistic LED lights. Additionally, a stone overlook is to be included in the bridge, a free public space for people to use for viewing purposes. Costs are approximated to be about $2.5 million and construction is to be done by the Ulster County Department of Public Works.
Once construction is underway, said to take about seven months, traffic will be rerouted to a temporary bridge situated a bit more north down the river than the current bridge.