With construction underway on the Norfolk Southern High Bridge, the Portageville entrance of Letchworth State Park is now closed, and it is expected to remain closed until September 2018.
The park’s other entrances remain open, and the Glen Iris Inn, Upper and Middle Falls will all remain accessible during construction. Park Manager Roland Beck said he doesn’t anticipate any adverse effect on tourism.
“The Portageville gate is one of our lesser-used gates to begin with,” Beck said. “To accommodate this, we redid our Castile gate so that’s bigger; it’s now two lanes … so that should accommodate any extra traffic we may get.
“There are just some trails that they won’t be able to access. It’ll have minimal effect.”
The current bridge was built in 1875 and, in 2011, was identified by the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council as one of its five-year projects to address barriers to economic growth. The new arch will cost $70 million to construct, and, given the frequency of trespassers on the old bridge, the railroad is taking precautions to prevent trespassers in the new designs. With that in mind, Beck stressed that visitors to the park need to follow detours and stay off trails that are closed.
“I just want to remind everybody, for their own safety, if they come out to the park and they want to view any of this conxtruction, please obey the closures,” Beck said. “They will still be able to view the Upper Falls and the bridge from the Upper Middle Falls area. We don’t want anybody getting hurt. It’s still going to be an active construction zone and it’s still an active railroad as well.”
Article by Carly Vair